Here's How to Get a Quick COVID-19 Test in Phoenix

Members of the New York National Guard register people at a COVID-19 mobile testing center in New Rochelle, New York on March 14.
Members of the New York National Guard register people at a COVID-19 mobile testing center in New Rochelle, New York on March 14. New York National Guard
While a massive backlog of COVID-19 tests statewide means results can take up to 12 days to obtain, people in the Valley have the option to get a free test with a quick turnaround at two Phoenix surge testing sites — until next Tuesday, at least.

The drive-up sites are located at two locations chosen by the city: South Mountain Park and Maryvale High School.

Arizona Department of Health Services spokesperson Holly Poynter said she could almost guarantee that the sites had same-day availability and encouraged anyone who wants a test to get one. There is no requirement that you have symptoms; as many as 45% of cases in one study were found to be asymptomatic.

"No one is going to be turned away," Poynter said.

While DHS requests that you pre-register for a time slot online, it is possible to show up and get a test without any advance notice. The results will be delivered via an automated phone call instead of the online portal. No identification or other documentation is required. The website asks you to print out the voucher with your time slot, but it's fine just to display it on your phone, Poynter said.

These tests are processed out of state and will they bypass the local backlog of tests. Poynter said they're currently returning results to people within 48 to 72 hours. Those tested will also receive five free cloth masks.

When people arrive, they are directed to a stall by a National Guard member, where they self-administer a nasal swab in their car at the employee's instruction.

"They try to make it as contactless as possible," Poynter said.

While the surge sites are a partnership with the federal government, data is collected by a third-party lab, and the testing is open to all regardless of immigration status. The pre-registration portal is also available in Spanish.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has committed to offering 2,500 tests a day at each site through Tuesday, July 28. Additional testing locations in the state can be found here.

You can sign up for a test at one of the surge sites here.

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Erasmus Baxter was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times.