CVS gives on-the-spot results at new COVID-19 test sites; opens ‘pop-up’ pharmacy

Marianne Wilson
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CVS Health, in conjunction with federal and state officials, has opened two rapid COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites.

The pharmacy giant said it hopes to perform up to 1,000 tests a day. The sites, in the parking lots at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, will be conducted using the new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test. Positive results can be delivered in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes. Licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, CVS’ retail medical clinic, will oversee the testing, which is available at no-cost to patients. 

CVS said it using learnings from its first COVID-19 testing site, which opened in the parking lot of a CVS store in Shrewsbury, Mass., on March 19, to maximize the efficiency and safety at these new sites. For example, testing at the new sites will be held in large parking lots that are easily accessible and able to accommodate multiple lanes of cars at one time.

The new sites will be open to all, but in order to receive an appointment for a test, customers will be required to preregister and prequalify online. No one will be admitted without preregistering.

"Our MinuteClinic providers join countless other heroic health care professionals across the country and around the world in forming the first line of defense against this devastating virus," said Troyen Brennan, MD, MPH, chief medical officer and executive VP, CVS Health. "Thanks to our partnerships with state officials and the utilization of advanced technology, our providers will be able to test large numbers of people in these states and make real-time decisions about treatment and appropriate next steps."

“This unique, public-private partnership will strengthen our testing capability,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “We are grateful for CVS Health’s support to stop the spread of the virus.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said the effort would double the state’s testing capacity.

“Today marks a giant leap forward in our efforts to combat this virus,” said Raimondo.

In separate news, CVS Health will open a ‘pop up’ CVS Pharmacy near the New Orleans convention center. The pop-up will support the medical monitoring facility inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The move is part of a larger state plan to use the convention center as a 1,000 bed coronavirus facility designed to ease the strain on New Orleans area hospitals preparing to treat an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients.

The ‘pop up’ CVS Pharmacy, which will operate from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily from an off-site location near the convention center, includes a rotating group of 26 full-and part-time CVS Health pharmacists and pharmacist technicians. They will assist with providing maintenance medication and offering counseling where needed for COVID-19 patients who do not require a ventilator or ICU and have been transferred from New Orleans area hospitals to the convention center, in an effort to increase hospital capacity for more severe COVID-19 cases.

The temporary pharmacy is not open to the general public, and is in place to deliver dedicated support to the state’s medical monitoring facility.

“We’ve demonstrated an ongoing commitment to supporting the citizens of New Orleans, especially in times of need,” said Jeffrey Schmidt, senior VP, CVS Health. “Pharmacies are a critical resource for communities managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ll continue to be here for customers and patients in New Orleans and throughout the country.”