Yuma Regional Medical Center and Sunset Health are joining the “blitz” COVID-19 testing effort announced by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Sunset Health, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Sonora Quest Laboratories, will administer drive-thru tests beginning today (Saturday, May 2) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot of its Yuma clinic located at 675 S. Avenue B.

Sunset Health will continue the drive-thru testing the following two weekends, with testing on Saturday, May 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot of Somerton Sunset Health, 115 N. Somerton Ave., and Saturday, May 16, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot of San Luis Sunset Health, 815 E. Cesar Chavez Blvd.

YRMC, which has partnered with the City of Yuma, will conduct its first drive-thru testing on Saturday, May 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Yuma Civic Center, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive. More testing dates will be announced later.

Mayor Doug Nicholls and Dr. Robert Trenschel, president and CEO of YRMC, announced the testing partnership on social media Friday afternoon.

Testing will be free and available to individuals who are concerned that they may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19. 

“The test is for everyone, even those without symptoms, until we run out of time or swabs, whichever comes first,” Sunset Health spokesperson Lucy Murrieta said, adding that even children of any age can get COVID-19, so testing can be done in any age group.

The polymerase chain reaction test, better known by its acronym “PCR,” will be used, which consists of deep swabbing of either the back of the nose or throat, all the way to the mucus membrane.

“It’s not painful, but it’s uncomfortable,” Trenschel explained.

The individual swabs will be sealed and sent to the respective laboratories. Results will be back in about a week, and Sunset Health and YRMC will contact patients to let them know their results.

The YRMC testing will also be available to anybody who wants to get tested. “We’ll only be limited by the number of tests available that day,” Trenschel said.

The hospital is hoping to have “hundreds” of tests on hand. If so, then hospital workers will form multiple drive-thru lanes.

People getting the test done will be asked general basic questions and will need to sign a consent form. They do not need to bring anything with them.

YRMC will also hand educational material on another type of testing that will soon be available. This type of test will determine if someone has the COVID-19 antibodies, which mean that the person has been exposed to the virus.

Sunset Health is asking for patience as people wait in their cars for the test. “It will be hot outside. We will try to move as quickly as possible,” Murrieta said.

The governor has called for statewide blitz testing. “The testing blitz will provide additional information on the prevalence and spread of COVID-19 in our community. Early identification, isolation and contact tracing are a critical part of keeping our community safe,” said Diana Gomez, director of the Yuma County Public Health District.

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