AZ hospital, drug testing, and more…
By Alex F. Garcia | Vice NewsArizona officials said Tuesday they will begin requiring doctors to undergo testing for infectious diseases and provide access to immunization records, the first step in making it easier for people to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Under a plan announced Tuesday by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services, doctors will be required to submit to a health department test, which includes an analysis of their blood and other medical records to determine whether they have been exposed to the virus.
The state is also rolling out immunization requirements to other providers, such as hospitals, for health care workers and students, as well as to other employers and universities.
A doctor who fails to take the test could face a fine or criminal charges.
The move is designed to help doctors and other health care professionals who are likely to be exposed to coronaviruses, particularly those who have no other immunization plans.
The Arizona Health Department has been tracking the number of infections in its hospital-based health care system, and has found that the majority of cases are being linked to hospital workers and children.
Health department officials are hoping that testing will help to prevent further infections in hospitals, and to limit the spread of the virus to the broader population.
The department has been working on the plan for months, and began issuing requests for testing on Tuesday.
Health officials have not yet made a final decision on how many health care providers will be covered by the new requirements.
“The public health and public health implications of a person not having to take an immunization test are tremendous,” said Arizona Secretary of Health Dr. Julie Karp.
“The people who need to be tested and are not taking the test are going to be at risk of getting sick, especially those at risk for getting sick if they get sick in the first place.”
The plan comes as the CDC is reporting that coronaviral infections in the U.S. have reached a record high of more than 14,400, an increase of more that 40 percent over the previous year.
The new requirement will take effect on July 1, and health department officials have said that testing is expected to start as soon as the end of this month.
Officials in other states, including Arizona, have also begun requiring vaccinations, although they have not been as stringent as Arizona’s.
States including New York and New Jersey are also rolling in measures to protect their residents from the virus, including requiring vaccinations for everyone.
The CDC estimates that more than 9,000 people in the United States have contracted the coronivirus, and about 12,000 of them died.