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Commercial labs in Arizona offer mass-scale COVID-19 tests

Two labs say they’ve devised a procedure that allows for a 24-hour turnaround of coronavirus testing.

Several viewers have been reaching out to express their frustration because they're unable to get tested for COVID-19, even though they are experiencing symptoms. 

Now, two commercial laboratories are joining forces in Arizona to make testing more widely available.  

A handful of labs in the state have waited for more than a month to be able to process COVID-19 tests. They finally got the green light this week. 

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“It’s happening quickly. We got started yesterday and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing," said Brandon Wallace, vice president of Paradigm Laboratories

Paradigm Laboratories and Prorenata Labs joined forces last month. They are now announcing they’ve devised a procedure that allows for a 24-hour turnaround of coronavirus testing. 

The labs have already begun processing thousands of test kits for the Pima County Health Department and Titan Solar.

‘We have hospitals in the queue expressing interest to do mass testing, along with extremely large mass corporations," said Ethan Sasz, owner of Paradigm Laboratories. 

But perhaps more importantly, they have technology to process different types of COVID-19 kits all in one place. 

“We can take pretty much any test that’s out there and process it through our systems," Wallace said. 

The announcement comes as governments and companies clamor for the ability test for coronavirus as quickly as possible.

“It’s a game-changer. And I’m really glad to see Arizona be able to put some innovation to use there, it’s great," said Ben Miller, with the nonprofit Well Being Trust

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He said efficient, mass-scale testing will be crucial to identifying COVID-19 hotspots in the months ahead. 

Paradigm's CEO said the difficulty in getting approval to test for coronavirus wasn't so much about the science but bureaucracy

“Unfortunately we’ve worked diligently to create this testing to get it ready for the public and we were handcuffed somewhat by waiting for the state to make their decision on if they would allow us to test, Sasz said. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services did not respond to a request for comment.

The two labs tell us they are ramping up production, within the next month, going from 700 lab kits tested per day to 13,000 a day.