Arizona’s leading diagnostic testing lab, Sonora Quest Laboratories, and leading COVID-19 drive-thru testing provider, Embry Health, have joined forces to ensure Arizonans are able to get the high-quality, accurate COVID-19 testing they need as easily and quickly as possible.

Sonora Quest today announced they will process all COVID-19 samples obtained by Embry Health’s 70 collection sites spanning 35 municipalities and 12—soon to be 13—counties, decreasing turnaround times for patients and increasing Embry Health’s and the Arizona Department of Health Service’s (ADHS) ability to collect real-time COVID-19 data.

READ MORE: Arizona ramps up COVID-19 vaccines with new sites, eligibility

“We know one reason people have been reluctant to get a PCR COVID-19 test is the wait to get their results,” said Raymond Embry, CEO and cofounder of Embry Health, “thanks to Sonora Quest bringing their large and high-quality testing capacity to this partnership, we’re removing that barrier and making it easier to get access to no-cost tests with fast turnaround times.”

Embry Health and Sonora Quest obtain samples for and process thousands of COVID-19 molecular tests, also known as PCR testing, each day throughout Arizona. PCR testing is the gold standard in COVID-19 diagnostic testing, providing more accurate, reliable results than rapid (antigen) testing. Sonora Quest is currently returning results to patients in an average of 24 hours.

“To slow the spread of COVID-19, people need accurate answers and this partnership provides them,” said Dave Dexter, the president and CEO of Sonora Quest Laboratories. “Embry’s network of testing sites—especially in underserved communities—ensures even more people have access to the gold-standard in COVID-19 testing to keep our communities healthy.”

Embry Health’s drive-thru COVID-19 sample collection model emphasizes patient convenience, allowing entire families to be tested at the same time without leaving the car. This method combined with Sonora Quest’s ability to provide results to all Embry Health patients through both Sonora Quest’s and Embry Health’s Patient Portals increases both the speed of results and access to the answers patients need.

By concentrating on testing with one lab, Embry Health and Sonora Quest have created a process to maximize real-time data collection.

“Even as vaccinations roll out, we still need to monitor community spread of COVID-19—especially as variations of COVID-19 continue to develop. We need to know who is still getting sick so we can determine why and take appropriate action,” said Embry.

Embry Health and Sonora Quest’s PCR diagnostic testing indicates positive COVID-19 test results and detects all variants of COVID-19 but is not able to distinguish between them. Unlike rapid antigen testing, PCR diagnostic test samples are able to be further tested to determine the presence of a COVID-19 variant. After a positive test result, samples are sent by Sonora Quest for further analysis to help the Arizona’s Department of Health Service’s efforts to identify COVID-19 variants within the state.

“As the largest provider of samples to ADHS’s efforts to identify variants, our partnership with Embry will enable us to provide a wider array of samples. This will give ADHS and all Arizonans a better picture of what is happening in our communities,” Dexter said.

Facts of note:

• COVID-19 testing provided at Embry Health’s drive-thru locations are zero cost regardless of insurance status.

• Samples are collected via nasal swab, although an oral swab is available upon request.

• People can sign up for an appointment at one of Embry Health’s testing sites here.

• People who have been tested at one of Embry Health’s testing sites as-of 02/15/2021 can access their results through Embry Health’s patient portal in addition to Sonora Quest’s Patient Portal.