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Long lines form at south Phoenix coronavirus testing center for fourth day

Vehicles were lined up with people waiting to get tested for COVID-19 in south Phoenix for the second week of the testing blitz.

PHOENIX — Vehicles on Friday were lined up with people waiting to get tested for COVID-19 in south Phoenix for the second week of the testing blitz.

The testing blitz at South Mountain Community College is being held on Thursday and Friday after the first week of testing took place on July 2 and 3.

The founder of Herozona, one of the organizations helping put on this testing blitz, said they are trying to test about 2,000 people per day on Thursday and Friday.

That’s an increase from about 1,000 tests a day that they did last week.

On top of that increased testing, more blitz events will return to South Mountain Community College starting Tuesday through Friday of next week. That will take place each week through Aug. 7. 

The blitz is in response to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona and testing need.

Debora Colon had been waiting in line for a test since 2 a.m. Friday. She said she got a test as a precautionary measure. 

“I’m actually traveling and so I’m just concerned that I may be a carrier, I may be not, just out of safety for myself and for others," Colon said.

 Colon called the free testing a great benefit "for all of us who don’t have the opportunity to go to our own professional medical facilities."

The line last Thursday, the first day of the blitz, was so busy that officials had to stop taking vehicles in line in the afternoon. Still, hundreds of people were still tested on that day.

The line wrapped around the parking lot of the college Friday morning, as people like Tony Cancino waited for hours to have their family tested for COVID-19.

“My family was exposed so, I want to make sure everybody is OK," Cancino said. 

Lab 24’s Marsha Wood said last week that the results are taking about 7 to 10 business days to come in, with the spike in COVID-19 across parts of the nation.

“We ask for a little understanding and patience," Wood said. "It may go a little bit longer. As well as at the same time, we are working to reduce that time as well.”

She says they took about 700 free, drive-through COVID-19 tests last Thursday. Wood says they had to stop the line at 2 p.m.

“We were able to complete everyone beyond that, so we wrapped up around 5 p.m. here," Wood said. 

Lab 24 is based in Miami, Florida and partners with local organizations to reach under-served communities. Wood said people who are tested are covered under the CARES Act. Lab 24 is also testing in other states.

People like Jordan Peraza waited hours for the chance to get tested.

“Someone at my job got exposed to it so they had to test all of us and I wasn’t able to get anywhere else," Peraza said last week. "So they said they’re doing it for free over here.”

As Wood and her teams battle the heat, they want to test as many Arizonans as they can.

“I’m working with my team to check on them and we have enough people to switch on and off so people can cool down," Wood said. 

"It’s inevitable that we’ll be exhausted. It’s inevitable that we’ll be tired. But we’re committed to doing this and pushing through.”

There are more testing locations across Arizona for those who need a test. You can find that information here

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