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After a record-breaking day last week of COVID-19 tests, officials at Sonora Quest Laboratories say Arizona’s largest diagnostic testing lab will expand its operation and be able to take on thousands more samples. Sonora Quest went through almost 30,000 COVID-19 PCR tests on Jan. 4, the most since the pandemic began. The lab plans to add another team of equipment, technicians and scientists by this weekend. During a tour Tuesday of the lab's 250,000-square-foot Phoenix headquarters, chief operating officer Sonya Engle said will mean being able to analyze 38,000 tests in a day. She says there has been no major backlog despite some of their own workers calling in sick. 

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A major health care provider in Arizona will allow employees who are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms or are asymptomatic to keep working at its hospitals and facilities. Because of the omicron variant’s rapid spread in Maricopa County and in anticipation of an continued increase, Dignity Health officials said they have enacted the “third tier” of the federal guidelines for health care workers with the coronavirus. However, those employees would need to wear an N-95 mask for 10 days after they tested positive. Health officials in Arizona on Sunday reported 69 more deaths and 15,850 additional confirmed infections.

AP
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The federal Transportation Security Administration on Friday temporarily closed two of four security checkpoints in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport's largest terminal due to staffing shortages because of COVID-19 during the omicron wave. Airport and TSA officials said in a joint statement that the closures of the Terminal Four’s B and D checkpoints could extend wait times for departing passengers up to 30 minutes. Arizona on Friday reported 30 additional COVID-19-related deaths as virus-related hospitalizations inched upward. The state also reported nearly 14, 900 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases as testing surged. Arizona's seven-day rolling average of new cases tripled during the past two weeks. 

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Arizona’s latest number of daily new COVID-19 cases appears extraordinarily high only because of a lag in reporting over the Christmas holiday. The state coronavirus dashboard reported 7,641 new confirmed cases but no deaths Monday. This comes after a tally of only 344 cases and no deaths a day earlier. A state Department of Health Services spokesman says no virus data was processed on Christmas Day. That’s why the number of cases on Sunday was so low. The daily case counts will likely be high for the next few days as the dashboard catches up. Arizona has seen 1,362,693 cases and 23,982 deaths since the pandemic started.