TELL MEL: Pima County patients turned away from COVID-19 testing?

(KOLD News 13)
Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 7:46 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As concerns over the coronavirus spread through Southern Arizona, so are rumors and questions on social media.

KOLD News 13 has received several phone calls and emails from viewers about COVID-19 testing.

One caller claimed a patient walked out of an area hospital without getting tested. In an email, a viewer claimed information came from nurses.

“According to nurses at a local hospital, PCHD is refusing to test hospitalized patients referred for COVID-19 testing.”

KOLD News 13 reached out to the Pima County Health Department Friday for more information on the county’s testing protocol and to see if there was any confirmation to concerns.

A spokesperson for the health department said hospitals and healthcare providers are using a standardized screening tool to identify when testing is indicated, as are other health departments across the state.

"When the CDC expanded the criteria for testing earlier this week, it caused a bit of a vacuum – as the supply of test kits available at the state lab cannot support widespread testing.

In order to make sure our state is using them as resourcefully as possible, tests are only conducted for folks who meet the criteria below. As testing capacity expands (like with the private labs coming on board soon) we look forward to those criteria continuing to expand."

This chart is the criteria the state set forward, provided by the Pima County Health Department.

According to a spokesperson, the Pima County Health Department is using this protocol for...
According to a spokesperson, the Pima County Health Department is using this protocol for coronavirus testing.(SOURCE: PCHD)

You can find more information about testing in the county HERE.

The easiest way to slow the spread of the virus is for everyone to practice basic hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds)
  • Cover your mouth (with a tissue or your sleeve) when you cough.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • If you need to seek medical care, before going to your doctor’s office, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you have a question or concern in the community, it’s easy to Tell Mel.


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