The state of Arizona unveiled a plan Monday to test tens of thousands of residents for coronavirus in the coming weeks, a big jump over the recent pace.
The program, called the “Arizona Testing Blitz”, aims to test 10,000-20,000 Arizonans for COVID-19 over each of the next three Saturdays.
“We know that rapidly identifying cases, conducting case follow-up, and performing contact tracing will help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities,” Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services director, said in a press release. “Success in these areas requires an increase in our testing capacity, and the Arizona Testing Blitz will help allow those who want to be tested, get tested.”
As of Tuesday morning, 67,438 coronavirus tests had been given in Arizona, but that number will quickly rise as supplies become more readily available.
Arizonans who want to get tested under the new program can find the locations and registration information on the AZDHS website.
The program begins Saturday at seven Banner Health and Walgreens locations statewide, including five across metro Phoenix. Click here for more information.
One of the locations is a new drive-thru test site Banner opened this week at the Arizona State Fairgrounds at 19th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix. Individuals who have an appointment to get tested at the fairground site will use the entrance at 17th Avenue and McDowell Road. The drive-thru testing site at the fairgrounds can also accommodate those without a vehicle.
Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever or cough will qualify for testing.
For Arizona, anybody with concerns about possible exposure can also set up an appointment.
Patients looking to be tested must be phone screened and have an appointment prior to showing up.
Those who arrive without an appointment will be asked to leave and complete the phone screening process.
Banner’s drive-thru collection sites are only set up to test for coronavirus and do not currently offer antibody testing.
“The Arizona Testing Blitz is just one step of many that will expand access to testing for Arizonans and provide us with better data to develop Arizona specific solutions and re-energize our economy,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in the release.
The push to increase testing comes as Ducey’s stay-at-home order, which went into effect March 31, is set to expire after Thursday.
Ducey is expected to announce in the coming days whether he will extend or alter the order.