Tolleson only has one COVID-19 test site, mayor fighting for more

Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar is asking for the state's help with adding more COVID-19 test sites.

The population of Tolleson is nearly 90% Hispanic and Latino, and there's only one test location in the entire city.

Statistics show Hispanics and Latinos represent nearly half of COVID-19 cases in Arizona.

"We're seeing test deserts in regards to free testing for our community members, so for me the struggle has been long and difficult."

Mayor Tovar refers to the west valley south of the I-10 a desert for COVID-19 testing, a lack of access she says her community desperately needs.

"We shouldn't be in this spot right now in regards to testing. We should be having mass testing in areas of need just like my city, but it's not happening."

Tovar says she's reached out to the governor's office many times, especially after hearing of planned surge testing. But she hasn't received many details on testing coming to underserved areas like Tolleson.

According to The COVID Tracking Project, Hispanics and Latinos make up 46% of Arizona's COVID-19 cases, and 31% of the state's population is Hispanic-Latino. 

Tovar says those numbers barely scratch the surface if so many aren't being tested.

"That's probably one of my biggest frustrations as a mayor is not knowing truly what is happening in my community in regards to numbers, in regards to what is a real picture that is happening right now in my city," Tovar said.

Tovar says lack of transportation and ability to work from home doesn't help Tolleson residents either, because a majority are in the essential workforce.

"The reality is essential workers work long hours, they're at the front line. We need to accommodate them as best as possible when they can get convenient testing in their community."

Tovar says she receives calls daily from her community asking about hyperlocal testing in their area. She says the demand is there, Tolleson just needs help from the state.

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