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Military Nurses, Tests Coming To Help Hard-Hit Arizona City

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Amalia Ayala, front, a resident of Las Brisas Sunset senior apartment complex in San Luis, Ariz., deposits saliva for her COVID-19 test during the ASU and Equality Health Foundation pilot program on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Free saliva tests engineered by Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute are administered in Yuma County's small border city of San Luis to disabled and older people living in subsidized housing. The tests have also been given to hundreds of farmworkers. (Cesar Neyoy/The Yuma Sun via AP)

(AP) — Exhausted nurses in rural Yuma, Arizona, are regularly sending COVID-19 patients on a long helicopter ride to hospitals in Phoenix when they don’t have enough staff.

The so-called winter lettuce capital of the U.S. also has lagged on coronavirus testing in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods and just ran out of vaccines. But some support is coming from military nurses and a new wave of free tests for farmworkers and the elderly in Yuma County, which is the hardest-hit county in one of the hardest-hit states.

The area’s only acute care hospital has no other facility to turn to nearby as it competes for medical workers nationwide.

 

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