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Arizona health department to start same-day coronavirus testing

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

PHOENIX — Arizona is set to become one of just a handful of states that will be able to perform same-day testing for coronavirus.

Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday that the state is expected to begin the testing on Monday.

The state’s public health lab was recently validated for the testing, which set the plan in motion, Christ said.

Previously, potential Arizona coronavirus patients had to get their tests sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Depending on when the tests came in, we’d be able to take public health action that day,” Christ said.

Arizona has only had one confirmed case of COVID-19 and risk for it to spread through the state remains low, but the in-house testing is a response to the possibility of additional cases.

The state health department on Thursday released a notice stating it was preparing for more cases.

Gov. Doug Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday that the state has a plan in place in case a coronavirus outbreak becomes a reality.

The potentially deadly virus has made its way to more than 60 countries on every continent except Antarctica, sickening more than 80,000.

Symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to that of the flu.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

“The disease appears to be spread through droplets, so make sure to practice good hygiene like washing your hands thoroughly,” Christ said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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