Beginning Tuesday, June 16, through Thursday, June 18, COVID-19 antibody testing will be initiated for correctional staff of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence through an onsite testing process.
Sonora Quest Laboratories will conduct the tests, which take about 5 to 10 minutes. According to a department press release, these tests are intended to help identify which people have been exposed to the COVID-19 and developed antibodies to fight it.
“This is an exceptional opportunity for the department to provide COVID-19 testing to our brave frontline men and women who continue to serve the public as first responders throughout the pandemic,” said Arizona Corrections Director David Shinn in a press release.
This new development is part of a larger effort within the state government to provide antibody testing for all state prison employees. Back in mid-May, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to prioritize correctional staff for receiving antibody testing. The effort consists of a partnership between the Arizona Department of Health Services and private sector laboratories.
While efforts to test employees is ramping up, testing for people incarcerated in these prisons remains minimal. The most recent data shows just over 2,000 incarcerated people have been tested for COVID-19, with about 1,700 negative results. Just over 250 incarcerated people have tested positive, 130 tests are still pending and 110 people have reportedly recovered from the disease.
There are over 40,000 people incarcerated in state prison facilities.
In addition, 117 staff members have self-reported as positive for COVID-19, with 85 of them reported successful recovery.