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Efforts underway to expand COVID-19 testing in Mohave County

Denise Burley, Mohave County’s director of public health, talks to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors about the coronavirus pandemic at a recent meeting. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

Denise Burley, Mohave County’s director of public health, talks to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors about the coronavirus pandemic at a recent meeting. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

KINGMAN – The Arizona Department of Health Services is working with CVS pharmacies to bring COVID-19 drive-thru testing to the communities of Mohave County, county Director of Public Health Denise Burley told the county’s board of supervisors Thursday, June 25.

Burley said based on CVS policy in Fort Mohave, where such testing is already taking place, the cost of tests are being billed to a patient’s insurance and in the case of no insurance, they are free.

Burley said the county health department has started recruiting workers to help with the COVID-19 response. Positions are posted on the county’s website, and locals are encouraged to apply.

The department is also planning to send educators to schools and certain businesses. The environmental health crew will provide guidelines for restaurants and bars based on the most recent state recommendations, Burley said.

Supervisor Buster Johnson of District 3 said early voting is getting close and asked if, because many poll workers are in the vulnerable age group for COVID-19, the county should ask them to wear face coverings.

Burley said it a good idea, but there was not enough interest from the other supervisors and the initiative was killed.

“We still continue to see a large growth of cases in the Bullhead City area,” Burley reported, “and some in the Lake Havasu City region.”

“I’m not surprise by the numbers at all,” Angius said. She suggested the growing numbers only reflect the fact that Bullhead City was late to the testing game, and now it is testing much more.

She expressed her impatience with the science and the understanding of COVID-19 moving so slowly.

“We haven’t really moved the needle much,” she said, questioning the sense of all the tracking if the data is not being utilized.

She said the average age for all the county cases so far is 51. That shows that a number of young people continue to get infected. Recovery rates are higher among younger people because they typically don’t have underlying conditions, Burley said, but warned against a “not a big deal to get sick” attitude.

“The symptoms and the consequences of those symptoms might exceed their expectations,” she said.

Burley said Lake Havasu Regional Medical Center have reached its standard ICU bed capacity and will be expanding to have new cases arrive. At the same time, she said she knows of patients from the Tucson and the Yuma area who are being treated in Mohave County hospitals within the Arizona Surge Line program that facilitates transfer between hospitals.

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