COVID-19 testing van

City officials and employees debuted a second COVID-19 testing van at a press conference last week.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego last week unveiled the city’s second mobile COVID-19 testing van, expanding its free testing services.

Accompanied by other city officials and Premier Lab Solutions Vice President of Sales Kelli Kopkash, the mayor said the new van will increase access to testing for people in areas where virus spread is spiking while its other van will continue bringing tests into underserved areas of the community. The new van will operate three days a week.

“Our first van has been active since August and already delivered 90,000 tests, but we know that COVID is still very prevalent in our community. We have high positive rates which means you need more testing to really understand the status of the virus,” Gallego said. 

Both mobile testing vans offer two options – a rapid test with on-site results within 15 minutes as well as a second swab sent for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test with results in 24 hours.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, PCR or molecular tests are currently the most accurate form of COVID-19 testing. 

“It is a free service to our residents, so you don’t have to worry about insurance or any of the barriers that may prevent people from getting tested,” Gallego said. 

Phoenix’s mobile COVID-19 testing vans were created in collaboration with Premier Lab Solutions, a Phoenix based lab dedicated to making COVID-19 testing more readily available. 

“We are so excited and honored to be a part of this venture with the city of Phoenix. We are headquartered right here in Phoenix, so this hits close to home,” Kopkash said.

The new van is a slightly larger 2020 Ford T-350 Transit, customized by the Phoenix Public Works Department’s Fleet Management division with an externally mounted generator, A/C unit, refrigerator, USB ports, a foldable work desk and service windows.

Phoenix offers three other testing services in addition to the mobile testing vans.  ExpresCheck at Sky Harbor International Airport offers three types of COVID-19 tests to travelers-- a PCR test, a blood antibody test and a Rapid Abbott ID test. Drive-thru testing is offered on weekends at various locations in Phoenix by city partners, Equality Health Foundation ​and Family Tree Healthcare. 

The vans and testing services were made possible by some of the $293 million the city received last year under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

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