MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - All students and people working at a public, private, or charter schools in Maricopa County have access to free COVID-19 rapid tests.
The new program, funded by federal grants, started this month. Right now, schools have access to 24 tests each, but more are being ordered. "The demand is probably far exceeding that 24, so again, were just now collecting that information so we can expand this program and increase our order," says Nick Staab, epidemiologist with Maricopa County Health Department .
Staab says because of the limited supply and for the best accuracy, tests will only be given to people who have COVID-19 symptoms at school. When more tests become available, Staab is hopeful people will be able to pick up the test from school and take it home to a person in quarantine. "Kids under 12 aren't eligible for vaccinations, we have different consistency with masking in schools and we have really high community transmission that seems to still be going up, according to our data, so because of all that, we really want to protect our kids. Easy access to testing is one of the ways that we can do that."
Arizona and Maricopa County health departments ordered 25,000 tests and another 25,000 are on its way.