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COVID19 Testing: Short Notice, Light Turnout, Testing Numbers Incomplete

Uncertainty and unknowns involving testing have been a coronavirus conundrum since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. More of that was evident during Monday's Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting in Kingman.

Americans have been confused about testing scarcity since the start of the outbreak. Some of the panoply of questions included have been: are tests available, where, for whom and on whose authority?

It seems medical experts and many others have come to agree that the nation lacked adequate supply and got a late start with testing. Yet, when five hundred free tests were available during a five hour period in Kingman last Saturday, only 216 people participated.

Part of the problem was late notice. It was early Friday afternoon when Mohave County issued a news release providing the specific time and location for Kingman testing that started less than 24 hours later.

That deprived the media time needed to broadcast and publicize the information about testing commissioned through a contractor working for the Arizona Department of Health Services from 7:00 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of Kingman High School.

``Sonora Quest provided COVID-19 testing to approximately, not approximately, 216 patients were tested," said County Department of Public Health Director Denise Burley. ``Those were the official numbers from Sonora Quest. Of those we have 4 positive results so far and we are awaiting complete results. I don't know that we have them."

Inexplicably, the number of negative test results and the number of tests that remain pending were not provided. The significance of having four infections against the sample size is difficult to measure without knowing negative and pending test numbers.

County communications Director Roger Galloway said he must rely upon Burley for the rest of the figures which remained unavailable late Monday.

``There are two other testing events that will go on in our county, and we can promote these out in the communities when we have more details," Burley told board members. ``The first will be this weekend in Bullhead City and the second will be in Lake Havasu on the 16th."

Supervisors expressed surprise by Burley's disclosure, given that Friday's news release said only one free test site would be administered in Mohave County. Supervisors Hildy Angius and Buster Johnson expressed interest in getting specific date and location information out in the public domain so interested citizens can avail themselves of the free testing opportunity.

Burley and Galloway said they'll help with that when the details become clear.

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