Some COVID-19 testing sites closing due to staff infections as demand continues to increase in Phoenix
PHOENIX - COVID-19 testing remains in high demand across the Phoenix area, but the surge in testing has forced some providers to close sites on Jan. 10 because they can't find enough employees to staff testing centers.
Embry Health, the state's largest tester, is one of the providers that was forced to close some sites. During the first week of 2022, it conducted about 35,000 tests a day. That's up 65% from the previous week.
As the days went on, some of their staff caught COVID-19, and it put a strain on their ability to staff their testing sites.
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"Right now, anywhere from 20 to 40% of our workforce is out with COVID-19. That is why we’re pushing as hard as possible, as fast as possible, to get additional employees to these test sites. We’ve simplified these test sites. We’ve made it so patients self swab themselves which allows us to more effectively operate these sites when there is a health care provider staffing crisis," said Raymond Embry, CEO at Embry Health.
"It substantially reduces the interactions between employees and patients," he added.
For Embry Heath, about four locations had to be closed on Jan. 10. The testing provider says anyone who had an appointment at these locations can just go to another site, and the appointment will still be honored.
It also says despite the surge in tests, the time to get results is still the same, about 24 to 36 hours. The only delays are with rapid tests.
In the coming day, more sporadic testing closures could happen. Embry says just save your confirmation number and head to another location.
"Such a dense network, really. There’s a site within five miles in almost any part of Maricopa County," he said.
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily
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