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COVID-19 testing surge in Phoenix nears end, remains far short of goal

People get tested at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at South Mountain Community College, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – A federally backed COVID-19 testing surge program for underserved areas of Phoenix is coming up far short of its goal as it enters its final sessions.

The 12-day program, a partnership among the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was launched July 17 at South Mountain Park and Maryvale High School.

Each of the sites was prepared to take 2,500 nasal swab samples a day for a potential total of 60,000 PCR diagnostic tests.

Through Sunday, 12,900 of a possible 50,000 tests had been given, the Arizona Governor’s Office said in a press release.

People getting tested are also being given five cloth face coverings.

Leftover supplies may be sent to other state testing sites, the release said.

The program, which has been running from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, concludes Tuesday. Online pre-registration is required. Results were to be made available through an online portal within 24-48 hours of when the specimens arrived at a lab.

Previous free testing programs in metro Phoenix have been plagued with long wait times during grueling summer heat, but that hasn’t been the case with this surge.

According to the release, the Maryvale site handled 9,300 tests through Sunday with an average wait of under 12 minutes, while the South Mountain Park took 3,600 samples with an average wait of about six minutes.

While the federal program is winding down, the Arizona Department of Health Services lists more than 350 testing locations statewide, including two ongoing free programs in west Phoenix.

The HeroZona Foundation is relocating its program to Cesar Chavez Park (7858 S. 35th Ave.), where it will provide drive-thru testing Tuesdays-Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Aug. 8.

In partnership with Embry Women’s Health, the Watts Family Maryvale YMCA on 67th Avenue near Indian School Road is hosting free drive-thru testing Saturdays and Sundays through August. The site has diagnostic and antibody testing available.

As of Monday morning, more than 878,000 diagnostic COVID-19 tests had been completed in Arizona, with 14.6% coming back positive, according to the state health department’s website.

There have been 163,827 coronavirus cases and 3,304 deaths documented in Arizona.

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

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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