Arizona reveals plan to supercharge number of coronavirus tests given

Apr 27, 2020, 1:12 PM | Updated: 1:36 pm

PHOENIX – The state of Arizona unveiled a plan Monday to test tens of thousands of residents for the 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 Monday morning, 66,543 coronavirus tests had been given in Arizona, but that number will quickly rise as supplies become more readily available. On most recent days, about 2,000 tests have been administered statewide.

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.

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.

“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.

The state reported 190 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday morning, increasing the total to 6,716. The death count remained unchanged at 275.

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Arizona reveals plan to supercharge number of coronavirus tests given