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Testing kits running out, events canceled as Arizona COVID cases remain high

Posted at 9:45 AM, Dec 30, 2021

PHOENIX — A high number of coronavirus cases were reported Thursday as at-home testing kits remain scarce and more events are canceled due to the pandemic.

State health officials on Thursday reported 5,687 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 41 more deaths.

Arizona's pandemic totals now stand at 1,373,00 virus cases and over 24,200 deaths.

COVID testing struggles

Cities around the Valley have been offering free at-home tests, but they have been going out-of-stock quickly, leaving people to search dwindling store shelves for them or wait for a testing site appointment.

Two locations offering at-home tests open in Mesa Thursday morning ran out of tests within minutes. The City of Mesa said Thursday that 4,500 test kits have been distributed at its three library locations so far in December.

One man said he showed up at the Mesa library the other day but they ran out so he showed up an hour early on Thursday.

"I had a triple bypass in September and I just want to make sure I stay healthy," said Paul Clark. "I got a wife and granddaughter that lives with me."

Meanwhile, testing sites like those put on by Embry Health are seeing record numbers of people making test appointments.

Embry said Thursday more than 26,000 appointments were made for Wednesday, marking a new daily record. On Tuesday, 25,000 people made appointments.

Holiday COVID concerns

The concerning report comes after the Christmas holiday and before New Year's Eve, when multiple events are set to take place around the state.

Flagstaff's annual pinecone drop and fireworks displays were canceled due to low staffing and coronavirus concerns for the second year in a row.

The Arizona Bowl was also called off due to the virus.

Still, many large events are still set to take place for New Year's holiday and into 2022 despite rising COVID cases and the contagious omicron variant, which is also causing trouble throughout the travel industry.

Earlier this week, a top Banner Health official said their clinical staff is stretched thin and some of their hospitals are over capacity amid this surge in COVID cases.