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'Supply chain interruption' affecting coronavirus testing in Arizona

Posted at 4:00 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 19:00:54-04

PHOENIX — A “supply chain interruption“ is affecting coronavirus testing and Maricopa County health officials are urging doctors to tell most patients to just self-isolate with any illness.

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In an email to a local healthcare system, a Maricopa County Public Health Department official wrote, “The lack of access to testing is an issue that we have raised to the very highest levels of government (FDA) and elected officials.”

The official added the “bottleneck is a lack of availability to specimen collection supplies (NP swabs and viral transport medium).“

The ABC15 Investigators obtained a copy of the email Wednesday afternoon after making more than a dozen calls to state and Maricopa County health departments, doctors, urgent care facilities, and hospitals.

We asked where the public could go to be tested if exhibiting symptoms, but none said they had COVID-19 testing readily available for the public, even if they have symptoms.

The public health department told the provider it is doing everything in their power to obtain these supplies so they can support primary care providers who are unable to test in their offices.

According to the county health official, it is critical that doctors tell your patients ”to self-isolate with any illness and drink fluids and rest at home.”

According to the email, the vast majority of people do very well recovering at home and getting a test does not change the treatment or the outcome.

“Availability of testing is not what will ultimately impact the spread of this outbreak,” the official wrote.

A spokeswoman for Maricopa County Public Health said similar guidance will be disseminated to other providers Wednesday.