'Testing Blitz' For Coronavirus Starts On Saturday

Published: Monday, April 27, 2020 - 5:13pm
Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 12:56pm
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Arizona health officials will launch a “testing blitz” over the next three weekends to ramp up testing for the coronavirus.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced that Banner Health and Walgreens will collectively operate seven testing sites across the state on Saturday, beginning May 2.

State officials said they hope other private partners will join and have set a goal to test between 10,000 and 20,000 Arizonans each Saturday, as many as 60,000 total, for the next three weeks.

For context, only 66,543 tests have been conducted in Arizona as of Monday.

Appointments must still be made to obtain tests, which are now available to a wider swath of the population, according to Becky Armendariz, spokeswoman for Banner Health. 

“It will be anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or anyone who thinks that they may have been possibly exposed to COVID-19 but may not have, may not be exhibiting symptoms yet,” she said.

That criteria follows new guidance from Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ that allows anyone who thinks they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or could be infected to be tested.

Previous limits on supplies caused state officials to limit testing to only those who were at high risk to the virus or those with specific symptoms.

“Arizona has placed an emphasis on ramping up testing, but we need more,” Ducey said in a statement. “As our healthcare partners develop a more reliable supply of testing materials, we’re working together to take testing availability to the next level.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services published a list of the available testing sites, which could be updated if more companies join the effort.

Registrations can be made by calling 844-549-1851.

Armendariz said the five sites operated by Banner Health are also open Monday through Friday, and appointments are always available at the same number.

Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services joined The Show to explore Ducey's options for reopening the state. 

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