I’m Dr. Bob England, Pima County health
director and this is your Pima County public health update for March 25th 2020.
I’ve been telling you for days that testing availability was going to
increase a lot right around the corner and boy was I wrong, and the reason is
really frustrating. It’s not that the labs haven’t wrapped up their capacity
to test they have been and they will continue to do so.
Now the healthcare community is in short supply of the test kits they need to
take the samples – those little plastic swabs. We saw this coming a couple of
weeks ago, we submitted our own order, right before we got it, it was cancelled
out from under us. We’ve been working with research labs at the U of A to make
reagents, to get the plastic tubes to get the right kind of swabs. We can’t quite
use them yet – we still have to double check sterility and we have to get the
right kind of swabs for some of the kits. So when you see drive through testing
open up, know that it’s not come one come all. You need to register ahead of time.
Banner is setting this up by appointment so that if you show up in your car
without an appointment you’re not gonna get tested. We’re still focusing our
testing on people in the hospital, obviously, and people who are in
important work sites health care workers first responders and so forth and people
who are asymptomatic who are living in congregate settings, people in long-term
care centers people in shelters and so forth. We’ve got to keep those kind of
explosive outbreaks from happening so more testing is coming it’s not quite as
available as we want it to be. Don’t get confused by the drive-thru clinics. We’ll
talk to you more about personal protective equipment shortages in our
next Pima County Public Health Update.