38,000 inmates will be tested for Covid-19 in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry announced Monday that it will begin a second round of coronavirus testing for nearly 38,000 inmates and make 4,000 rapid virus tests available to staff.

Inmate testing will begin in January in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services, while rapid testing for staff will be used as needed, according to a press release.

The 4,000 rapid antigen tests are self-contained nasal swabs and provide results in 15 minutes via a mobile app.

Those tests will be available to all staff members, such as health care providers for the Arizona inmate population, correctional officers, professional staff, and contract staff.

“Since March, more than 85,000 inmate tests have been conducted at our state and contracted correctional facilities,” ADCRR Director David Shinn said in the statement.

“The health of our inmates and staff is a top priority and we continue to take proactive steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Medical personnel administering the tests will do so after completing training offered this week by the Arizona Army National Guard.

Additionally, health professionals for the state’s inmate population have already been certified to administer COVID-19 vaccines, which are scheduled to be administered to correctional facility employees during Prioritized Phase 1B of the Distribution Overview of Arizona.

The state health department also added the age group 75 and older to the new classification on Monday.

The first phase of Arizona’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan will run through spring 2021.

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