Walgreens is moving to expand the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing.
The drug store company plans to open 15 drive-thru testing sites for the virus across Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas, starting later this week. The sites will utilize Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test, which delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes.
The 15 locations are being finalized in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and are planned for select “hot spot” markets with escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases. Walgreens expects to test up to 3,000 people per day across these additional sites.
Walgreens said it will dedicate temporary space at select locations, outside of the stores, for the test sites, with company pharmacists overseeing the testing. Patients will be directed to testing locations via an online assessment tool that will be available on Walgreens.com and Walgreens mobile app.
Testing will be available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients will need to pre-register in advance in order to schedule an appointment for testing.
In March, the White House announced that, as part of an effort to make COVID-19 testing more available. CVH Health, Walgreens, Target and Walmart would feature drive-thru testing in their parking lots. Walgreens has opened one testing site, in the Chicago, area but similar to the sites originally opened by the other three retailers, it is open only to first responders. (CVS recently announced it recently it has opened two rapid COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites open to the general public that fit certain criteria.)
“Walgreens remains committed to working with federal, state and local governments, as well as industry partners to meet the needs of the communities we serve across the country during the pandemic,” said Richard Ashworth, president, Walgreens. “Opening our first drive-thru testing location last month has allowed us to quickly learn and develop an efficient and scalable process, and we’re pleased to be working with Abbott to help accelerate our efforts, and to enable quick results for those being tested.”