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UA Medical School Public Health Director: Mandate Masks, Speed Up Test Results

Arizona has expanded its coronavirus testing capacity thanks to several partnerships with universities and labs. But test results are taking up to two weeks for some individuals — meaning a lot of people who don’t have COVID-19 are quarantining while awaiting results.

Doctor Shad Marvasti with the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix says that until labs are able to return test results faster, anybody who gets a test should isolate themselves until they no longer have any symptoms.

"(If) you have no fevers or any other symptoms, or you’re feeling better, you could tentatively begin resuming activities," Marvasti said. "Being more cautious in terms of your contact with the elderly, those with chronic conditions, and as all of us should be doing, wearing a mask in public and keeping our distance."

COVID-19 statistics from across the country are showing that states with mandatory mask orders are faring better than states without — including Arizona.

Marvasti says Arizona is a global hotspot of the disease and not having a statewide mask mandate makes the state look foolish.

"(Other states) have the statewide mask mandate, and yet we have this crisis and are a hotspot and we don’t, doesn’t seem to make common sense to me," he said. "I think we also need to add with the ordinances, and I this varies from city to city, some kind of fine or fee to help ensure enforcement."

Short of another shutdown, Marvasti says mandatory face masks would be the most effective way of reducing infection rates across the state.

Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease

Scott Bourque was a reporter and podcast producer at KJZZ from 2019 to 2022.