South Mountain Community College Event Aims To Speed Up COVID-19 Testing

By Tim Agne
Published: Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 1:13pm
Updated: Friday, July 10, 2020 - 9:58am

COVID Testing City National Guard
Tim Agne/KJZZ
A member of the U.S. Armu National Guard guides cars into the COVID Testing City event at South Mountain Community College on Thurday, July 9, 2020.

The line stretched more than a mile as the COVID Testing City event at South Mountain Community College began admitting patients Thursday morning. A spokesperson said people began lining in their cars up around 12:30 a.m.

HeroZona founder and CEO Alan “AP” Powell helped organize the free testing event, which began a week earlier and runs through Aug. 7.

“We saw the high demand, so we made some modifications,” Powell said. “We got better tents for our volunteers and technicians. We went from two stations to four stations on registration. From two stations to four stations on testing.”

COVID Testing City also extended its hours, now testing from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Alan AP Powell
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Alan "AP" Powell at the COVID Testing City event on July 9, 2020.

Powell said patients can expect test results in five to seven days. “You’ll get a call from the doctor if you test positive, and you'll get an email if you test negative.”

After workers from the U.S. Army National Guard began guiding cars through the college’s south and west parking lots, vehicles still occupied the right lane of southbound 24th Street to about a quarter mile south of Broadway Road. A smaller line split off along Southern Avenue to 22nd Street.

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“I’m kind of glad I can see the tents now,” said John Leon from his spot in the line. “There is quite a few people in front of me, but at least I’m a little bit closer. I can see the finish line.”

Leon lined up at 4:30 a.m. “I have an itchy throat,” he said. “I’m a barber, and I’m concerned. I closed the shop.”

Leon said this follows other precautions he has taken to keep himself and his customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. “I keep it sprayed down. I wipe everything down. I wear a mask and make everybody else wear a mask who comes into the shop.”

COVID19 drive thru testing tents
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Cars pull into tents for free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at South Mountain Community college on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

Despite waiting more than two hours, Leon appreciated the organizers’ efforts. “I like the way they have this set up,” he said. “They set it up real nice, so they can take a lot of people.”

Powell emphasized the importance of bringing testing to the south Phoenix community, which includes ZIP codes with some of the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona. “We wanted to make sure we do our part to keep the patriots and the citizens of this community safe and make sure that they feel like they’re going to get the same resources anybody else can get,” he said.

Powell’s advice for the community: “Stay safe. Really follow social distancing. This thing is real. I’ve had four people die that I know personally in the last 10 days. So it’s real. So please take precautions and actually follow all the CDC guidelines to make sure you protect you and your family.”

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