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

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ, right, answers a question as she is joined by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, left, to provide an update on the coronavirus during a news conference at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory Monday, March 23, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

If you’re looking to support a local business or are a business that wants to let people know your doors are open, visit ktar.com/openforbusiness.

To help contain the spread of COVID-19 health officials have issued the following recommendations:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Don’t make close contact with sick individuals.
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect objects that are frequently touched.

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