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As many as 70,000 Arizona residents could have coronavirus, according to CDC models

Coronavirus testing in Arizona
Posted at 10:03 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 00:17:51-04

PHOENIX — As many as 70,000 people in Arizona could be infected with coronavirus if the CDC's models are correct, state health officials say.

Arizona's Director of Health, Dr. Cara Christ, tells ABC15 if the CDC models that show 1% of a population is carrying the virus are accurate, then around 70,000 people in our state would have it.

"We know now, just the fact of community spread says that at least 1%, at the very least 1% of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today," Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health told Scripps station WCPO in Cincinnati. "We have 11.7 million people."

In an interview on Friday, Dr. Christ said, "they were using modeling from the CDC and they were using specific criteria, so we’re trying to reach out and figure out what they were looking at."

Dr. Christ said the risk for coronavirus is low in Arizona but has heightened in some areas.


As of Friday, the state of Arizona has two days worth of testing if they reach capacity at Arizona's state lab.

A spokesperson for AZDHS says that Arizona’s state lab has 800 tests for coronavirus. The office has the ability to test up to 450 a day at capacity.

But, Arizona is nowhere near that number.

If Arizona does reach that number, they have the ability to ask for more tests.


The state of Arizona has tested 143 people for COVID-19, but the daily numbers are far below the average across the U.S.

ABC15 spoke with Dr. Christ about the state testing 15 people on Wednesday, and 28 people on Thursday, while the average number of tests across the country is 55.

The reason? Lack of test kits to providers, and providers don't have proper protective gear, we’re told.

Dr. Christ said there is not just one reason on why there is a lack of testing, "one of the things we’re hearing is medical providers may not have the testing kits or the appropriate PPE, so that's what we’re working on today is, can we set up some type of testing center, can we work with the labs?"

PPE stands for personal protective equipment.

Arizona's state lab also has strict criteria when it comes to testing patients, including if a person has been out of the country to impacted areas or in direct contact with a diagnosed patient.

However, private labs are now online in the state, which will help add testing without the same guidelines.

In a post to social media, AZDHS said:

“Patients should only be tested if their healthcare provider believes they have #COVID19 symptoms. The AZ State Lab & our diagnostic lab partners have the capacity to process tests. We are working closely with healthcare providers to test those who need it.”

Dr. Christ said that the labs have already tested hundreds of people in Arizona, but we're told they're working on how those numbers will be reported.