ARIZONA NEWS

About 6,600 Arizonans have been tested for coronavirus, Dr. Christ says

Mar 25, 2020, 2:36 PM | Updated: 9:30 pm

PHOENIX – More than 6,600 Arizonans have been tested for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, as health officials Wednesday provided an estimate that includes private lab tests for the first time.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ revealed the amount during a press conference, noting that most of the testing has been done outside the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory.

“Currently roughly 95% of these tests are negative and 4.6% of these tests are positive,” she said.

Until now, the state only reported the number of tests processed by the state lab.

As of Wednesday morning, the state lab had tested 368 people, with 323 ruled out, 45 positive tests and 53 results pending. One of the positives was later determined to be negative.

Private labs had diagnosed 357 of the state’s 401 reported cases as of Wednesday morning.

Christ said that while the capacity for testing has been increasing, which is reflected in a recent rise in cases, there’s still a shortage of supplies and protective equipment for health care workers.

“At this time there simply just are not enough tests for everyone who wants one, so we will continue to prioritize our high-risk populations,” she said.

On March 2, the state lab started processing coronavirus tests after gaining federal approval. Until then, Arizona samples had to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the time, there was one positive case documented in the state.

Commercial lab testing didn’t start ramping up until about two weeks later.

Earlier this week, Gov. Doug Ducey told the private labs they needed to supply data on how many tests they were conducting, not just the number of positive results.

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