Arizona seeing surge in demand for COVID-19 tests

Covid testing
Posted at 11:02 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-22 22:57:16-04

Arizona is seeing a skyrocketing demand in COVID-19 testing as cases rise again. Providers are working hard to keep up.

Embry Health says it has seen a 1000-percent increase in demand since July 1. It’s similar to what we saw just one year ago. Although, the reasons for getting tested have changed over that time.

"Last fall, a majority of the people getting tested were those who were actually out in the community, which for the most part, was not children. They were adults who had gone back to work or were going out and interacting in the community,” Raymond Embry, CEO of Embry Health.

Now, Embry Health says the surge of testing is due to the delta variant and kids being back in the classroom.

As a result, some providers are facing a shortage of rapid tests and appointments.

“When you look at the schedule, there was nothing open that day. It was usually the next day, or a day later,” says Ryan Kohlman, PVUSD parent.

Ryan Kohlman ended up paying a pretty hefty price after both of his vaccinated children got sick.

"We called that day to let the school know that he was sick and they said, ‘well, he'll have to have a COVID test to go back into school.’ So, we took him to the same place which was another $135,” says Kohlman.

Embry Health appointment data shows more than 2,000 Arizona residents forgo COVID testing daily due to long wait times alone. That is why they are adding more drive-thru testing sites.

“The faster patients are able to get in and out, the more people get tested. So, we have about 30 new locations that will be coming online over the next month,” says Embry.

Embry currently has 55 sites open throughout Arizona. To put things into perspective, officials say they went from administering 1000 tests a day to now, more than 15,000 a day - in less than two months.

This demand is showing no signs of slowing down.

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