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Burglar steals 29 coronavirus testing kits from Tucson Health Centre after posing as delivery man

The man stole the testing kits when the staff members were getting ready to close for the day
(Getty Image)
(Getty Image)

Earlier this week, the Tucson Health Centre was broken into by an unidentified man dressed like a delivery driver. The man stole coronavirus testing kits from the center when the staff members were getting ready to close for the day. The staffers noticed the missing kits only the next day. The detectives are investigating this situation actively.

According to a Facebook post from the Tucson police department, it happened at the El Rio Health Center at 839 West Congress Street just before 8 pm (GMT-7) on March 20. The suspect is described by the police as a Hispanic male in his 30s, approximately 5'9 to 5'11 with a large build. He has a full dark-colored beard with some graying. Surveillance video shows the suspect leaving in what appears to be a reddish colored Dodge Charger or a similar style vehicle.

The police informed that the testing kits are essentially useless for the burglar. The kits require proper laboratory equipment and tools for testing and reading results. Police informed the public that the kits are replaced and won't affect the clinic's testing abilities. The burglar, however, has taken 29 testing kits out of the facility. Therefore, the Tuscon police department is seeking the public's assistance to identify the burglar.

They have also informed the public not to buy kits from anyone claiming to have coronavirus or COVID-19 test kits, saying, "It is a scam!" There are currently no home test kits for the virus. The public is asked to report to the police immediately if they are contacted by any such dealers.

The test developed by the company called Cepheid has gotten its approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that announced it has authorized the use of the first rapid diagnostic test created by the firm that could detect the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in approximately 45 minutes. With the increasing numbers of cases, the authorities have recommended the doctors to prioritize hospital patients and stop testing on non-hospitalized patients.

Health labs in the United States will prioritize those with symptoms, health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, paramedics and other high-risk situations. Others are encouraged to simply stay at home. The coronavirus testing kits are required for only those who are hospitalized with severe symptoms.

"At this point in the pandemic, demand for unnecessary testing is contributing to the rapidly diminishing supply of PPE and leading to a decreasing supply of swabs and viral transport media used to collect diagnostic specimens for Covid-19 testing," a statement read in the CNN. "Testing may play a more significant role after the pandemic has peaked." 

Researchers at Columbia University, New York, have warned that strict measures to limit social contact are necessary for parts of the United States to significantly stem the tide of illness and death in the coming months. According to the researchers, even if the country cuts the rate of transmission in half, which is considered to be unlikely, around 650,000 people might become infected in the next two months.