The city of Phoenix, in partnership with local healthcare company Vincere Cancer Center, will officially launch its new mobile COVID-19 testing van on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at the U-haul parking lot located 2727 N. Central Ave. The testing van provides easy access to COVID-19 tests at no out-of-pocket costs to the Phoenix community and is the first of its kind in Arizona.
This new endeavor is one of Phoenix’s many efforts to help stop the spread of the virus through early detection, immediate quarantine, and medical care for those who have contracted the virus.
“The city of Phoenix is excited to launch Arizona’s first mobile COVID-19 testing van. The mobile van will provide much needed testing for the community in a more accessible, quick, and efficient manner. I am proud of our city staff for working hard to bring this type of innovation to the Valley,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This is a huge step forward in our fight against COVID-19 and we will continue to adapt to the needs of our residents to help stop the spread.”
The mobile testing van is a 2020 Ford T-250 Transit, and customized with: a foldable workstation, refrigerator, shelving, a generator with 120v outlets and USB ports and a roof-mounted air condition unit. An electric awning will be installed by the end of August. The colorful custom vehicle wrap was designed with “friendly community” in mind and a reminder for everyone who sees it to wear protective face coverings.
“The mobile testing van will provide easy access to COVID-19 tests at no cost to the patient, straight to their doorstep or business front,” said District 4 Councilwoman Laura Pastor. “I am so proud of the partnership we have built with Vincere Cancer Center. I thank them and the city staff from multiple departments who made this van possible.”
The medical staff of Vincere Cancer Center will fully manage the operations of the van, scheduling of testing appointments, scheduling of site locations, administering of the different COVID-19 tests and dissemination of results. Board-certified oncologist, Vershalee Shukla, MD, and former Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at John C. Lincoln, Pablo Prichard, MD, are co-founders of Vincere.
Although Vincere focuses on cancer treatments, their bi-lingual medical staff are well-qualified and well-equipped to administer COVID-19 tests. Vincere is one of the few medical facilities in the state to obtain the antigen and antibody test kits that yield quick results, particularly the Sofia SARS Antigen Fluorescent Immunoassay (FIA), which provides automated and objective results in about 15 minutes.
“Testing is crucial to control the spread of COVID-19 and even more so in underserved neighborhoods with our most vulnerable citizens—not just those without health care or without the financial means, but also those who have pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, etc.” said Dr. Shukla. “We are so grateful to the city of Phoenix for taking the next steps that make COVID-19 testing a priority, and Vincere Cancer Center is privileged to offer testing with rapid results. We believe this will soon become a gold standard in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” added Dr. Prichard.
Phoenix’s mobile COVID-19 testing van was made possible through the COVID-19 Federal Relief Fund. It will operate 5 days a week (except Wednesdays and Sundays) from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Locations of the testing van will vary, with priority given to underserved communities and struggling small businesses in Phoenix. Individuals interested in getting a COVID-19 test are required to pre-register online and make an appointment. For those with insurance, insurance will be processed with no charge to the patient. Testing costs for those without insurance will be covered by the CARES Act funds.
For COVID-19 testing van locations and dates, and to make an appointment, please visit phoenix.gov/COVIDtesting.