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Free COVID-19 tests could reduce the spread of omicron in Latino community, nonprofit predicts

The Arizona COVID-19 dashboard saw another 20,497 cases and 21 deaths added Jan. 19. The state’s positivity rate is 11.4%, and the omicron variant continues to make its way through the population, causing an increased demand for testing.

Jan. 18 marked the first day of free COVID-19 test availability for just about anybody with a mailing address. Each household can order four tests to be delivered to their address, free of charge.

While the program aims to alert recipients to their COVID-19 statuses without clogging up hospitals and health clinics with testing, issues are already surfacing.

Besides anecdotal evidence that rapid tests aren’t accurately gauging the omicron strain, living arrangements of many are making deliveries to apartments difficult. And there’s the question of whether an increase in positive test results will drive more people into already-packed hospitals.

Erin Garcia is the vice president of social services & education for Chicanos Por La Causa, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that has been advocating for vaccination and other support in Latino communities.

The Show spoke with her to learn how these mailed tests could impact the Latino community.

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Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.