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Arizona Health Officials: Positive Cases May Spike Since Private Labs To Outpace State Testing

Published: Monday, March 16, 2020 - 6:13pm
Updated: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 12:10pm
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

As private labs begin testing patients for the coronavirus, Maricopa County health officials warned that the number of positive cases in Arizona is about to spike dramatically. 

As of Monday morning, the state public health laboratory had conducted 200 tests. But that doesn’t include the number of tests now conducted by private labs. 

Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, the medical director for disease control with Maricopa County, said private labs will quickly outpace the testing rate at the state level.

That also means the number of positive tests will increase rapidly over the coming days and weeks. 

"I want you to know that these people have been in our county for a long time, so this doesn’t represent a change in the situation, but rather better detection of ill people that are out there," Sunenshine said. 

Each of the five new cases reported Monday were results from private labs.

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