ADHS has worked in partnership with laboratories and healthcare providers across Arizona to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. Increased testing is now possible due to greater availability of testing supplies, which weren’t available earlier in the course of this outbreak. More information about testing gives public health a better understanding of how Arizona has been impacted by COVID-19 and allows us to more rapidly identify cases and conduct case investigations to help slow the spread of this pandemic.
Today we updated our dashboard to include additional information about laboratory testing for COVID-19 in Arizona. This new enhancement provides a look at antibody testing for the first time. Previously, data on the ADHS dashboard only included diagnostic (PCR) testing information. While we had been getting a small number of serology results reported to the Department over the past three weeks, a large number of serology results were reported this past week as testing capacity has expanded.
Antibody (also known as serology) tests are laboratory tests that look for the presence of antibodies, which are made by the body in response to an infection. Antibody testing for COVID-19 is relatively new, so it is difficult right now to draw conclusions about antibody testing data. Additionally, an antibody test may be falsely positive for COVID-19 because the test may have detected the presence of antibodies to other coronaviruses that cause the common cold. Currently, the widely used PCR testing is able to detect if a person is currently infected with COVID-19, which is why this is considered a diagnostic test.
On the Laboratory Testing section of our dashboard, we now display information about both PCR (diagnostic) and serology (antibody) tests. The default view on this website will show three boxes across the top with information about the total number of both PCR and serology tests completed for COVID-19 in Arizona, the total number of tests reported in the last day, and the total percent positivity for all tests completed in Arizona. There is a map that shows these numbers by county, and charts showing the number of all tests by date of specimen collection and by age group. The bottom section of the page breaks out the percent positivity of COVID-19 tests in Arizona overall and by week specific to the kind of test performed – PCR or serology.
Of note, the dashboard can be filtered in several ways depending on how you want to view the data. A drop down box at the top of the dashboard will allow you to view the information for only PCR (diagnostic) or only serology (antibody) tests. You can also click on a specific county on the map to see all the data on a county level.
We continue to make enhancements to our data dashboards to provide additional information about the COVID-19 outbreak. Please check back regularly for additional updates.