Arizona’s top health official said Thursday that the state is moving to make coronavirus testing available to more residents.
Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services director, said in a blog post that COVID-19 testing criteria have been expanded to include anyone who believes they have been exposed to or potentially infected with the virus.
Previously, state health officials had recommended only to perform tests on high-risk individuals, health care workers, first responders and those displaying serious symptoms.
Christ said the criteria were updated because laboratories across the state such as Sonora Quest, Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic have indicated they can run more tests.
“We know that rapidly identifying cases, case follow up and contact tracing will help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities,” Christ wrote. “Success in these areas requires an increase in our testing capacity.”
State health officials sent messaging to labs statewide to remove any restrictions on testing if they have adequate testing supplies and personal protective equipment, according to Christ.
Additionally, state health officials have distributed 15 rapid testing machines throughout the state that are able to provide results within 15 minutes.
There have been 58,750 coronavirus tests performed in Arizona as of Thursday, yielding 5,769 positive results.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday he will not make a decision on the state’s “stay-at-home” order, set to expire April 30, until next week.
Ducey said any big-picture decisions made in Arizona will continue to be driven by data.
“It’s going to be important that we focus on the fundamentals that allowed us to get to a position where Arizona today has its arms around the virus,” Ducey said. “It’s prepared us for what comes next.”
Click here to read Christ’s full blog post.