MESA, Ariz. - In recent days, there have been packed lines for COVID-19 testing at some sites across the Valley, but one health provider says they're just scratching the surface on capacity.
At a site located on the grounds of Mesa Community College, thousands are welcome 24/7. That's the schedule put on by Embry Women's Health at MCC. It's been more than a week of COVID-19 testing, and still, there are plenty of reservations for the taking.
Raymond Embry, Development Director for Embry Women's Health, says this site alone averages 1,700 tests per day.
"It requires folks on the frontend and the backend collecting specimens, registering the patients, posting the results, so the entire operation requires an incredible amount of staff," said Embry.
According to Embry, up to 60 testing bays can be used, but there's space that hasn't been used at the site.
"We have up to 10 acres there with a separate entrance and exit, as well as all of the facilities we need, so we're just using a fraction of the space right now," said Embry.
In order to keep an operation like this going, more people need to take advantage of open appointments. Otherwise, capacity is reduced, hours are cut, and the site could be shut down.
"We do need to keep the schedule full on a daily basis to ensure that we're able to do so," said Embry.
Between the Mesa and Tempe testing site, Embry Women's Health is taking in around 2,600 specimens daily, but officials with Embry says much more testing can be done during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"We definitely believe we can exceed 5,000 to 6,000 patients per day, just at Mesa Community College," said Embry.
Embry Women's Health is looking into adding six more test sites, targeting Avondale, Chandler, Peoria, and Phoenix's Maryvale area.
Arizona considered a "COVID-19 hotspot"
Arizona has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases after Gov. Doug Ducey relaxed stay-home orders and other restrictions in May.
On July 11, state health officials announced 3,038 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 119,930. Health officials also reported an additional 69 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak.
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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
CDC Website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19