PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The University of Arizona is working with the state to develop antibody testing for COVID-19, by creating 250,000 tests for health care personnel and first responders. 

“Antibody testing is not a cure-all, but learning more about it is an important step to identifying community exposure, helping us make decisions about how we protect our citizens, and getting us to the other side of this pandemic more quickly,” Gov. Doug Ducey said. “Our health care workers and first responders are on the front lines, and my top priority is to identify ways to protect them and I am eager to get this underway.”

The antibody test would identify coronavirus through the bloodstream rather than through swabs for faster results. The tests would check for antibodies through a blood sample to see if that person was exposed to coronavirus, had the virus, and recovered.

According to a press release from the governor's office, UofA and the state will be working together after getting the approval from the federal government for this testing. 

Doug Ducey presser

“Governor Ducey is taking the next step in this battle by providing important antibody tests for vulnerable frontline workers,” University of Arizona President Bobby Robbins said. “The more testing that is done, the clearer the road map to recovery. As a premier research institution in the country, the UofA is ready and poised to provide this service to the state of Arizona.”

In addition to developing the tests, Dr. Robbins of UofA, plans to test every faculty member, staff member, and students with the antibody test -- which would be about 60,000 tests. 

Governor Ducey also signed three new executive orders. One will help more people get certified as caregivers in assisted living facilities. The second would expand data collection by the Department of Health Sciences and sharing that information with first responders called Enhanced Surveillance Advisory. The third executive order would make telemedicine available on worker's comp plans

Ducey is also looking to seek business input for economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. He will be working with business leaders to help find ways to develop a plan to improve the economy. Ducey sent out a letter to business leaders on Tuesday describing his plan. He also listed who will be working on this plan from the business community that includes Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sanda Watson and Arizona Office of Tourism Director Debbie Johnson. To see full letter, click here

“In making decisions about public health, I will continue to lean on Dr. Cara Christ, and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And as we look to re-energize our economy, I’m looking to you to provide recommendations and expertise on how the state should approach this needed economic recovery,” Governor Ducey wrote to the business leaders. “I am confident that everything we have done as a state to combat this virus will provide us the opportunity to safely approach economic recovery in the coming weeks.”


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