PHOENIX, AZ – Today Reps. Gallego, Grijalva, Kirkpatrick, and O’Halleran inquired whether Governor Doug Ducey intends to deploy the Arizona National Guard to provide logistical and staffing support for conducting COVID-19 testing, specifically in undeserved areas, areas with spikes in cases, and areas with high COVID-19 positive test rates.
“[T]he demand for coronavirus testing outpaces both the supply of tests and the speed at which health workers can administer and process them. This lack of testing makes it particularly difficult for the uninsured, low-income families, and immigrant communities to access a test in a timely manner,” the letter said.
The Members of Congress praised Ducey for his decision last week to use the National Guard to assist with contact tracing and to assist with the “testing blitz” which ended in early June, and asks Ducey about reengaging the Guard and prioritizing resources in particularly underserved and vulnerable areas that are unable to accommodate the vast and growing demand for testing as cases rise in Arizona.
“For example, the St. Vincent De Paul free community testing site in South Phoenix is receiving approximately 600 calls daily, even though their maximum capacity is limited to just 100 to 150 tests per day,” the letter said. “Further, on June 20, almost 1,000 people in Maryvale waited up to 13 hours for free testing, and many were ultimately turned away. There have been reports in Yuma county of results taking as long as 8-10 days. The lack of access to testing in underserved areas exacerbates existing health inequities and impedes our ability to contain the spread of the virus.”