Walgreens expands coronavirus drive-thru testing sites across 7 states
Walgreens is expanding access to COVID-19 testing sites with the addition of 15 new drive-thru locations across seven states.
Beginning this week, the new sites in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas will be able to test up to 3,000 people per day.
Additionally, the locations will use Abbott Laboratories' rapid test, which is said to deliver positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes.
"We're continuing to do everything we can, both with our own resources and also by partnering with others, to serve as an access point within the community for COVID-19 testing," said Walgreens president Richard Ashworth.
The company learned how to develop an "efficient and scalable process" after opening its first testing location last month, Ashworth said.
The locations were chosen in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based on hot spot markets with "escalating rates" of COVID-19 cases, Walgreens said.
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In March, President Trump and senior staffers laid out a new testing strategy designed to screen hundreds of thousands of Americans at drive-thru centers based around major retail chains.
The move came one day after one of the government's top health officials called the initial testing effort "a failing" and health care professionals, politicians and patients across the country complained about lack of access to testing.
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Since then, pharmacy giants such as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart promised to help with testing sites in their parking lots.
Testing at the new locations is free for eligible individuals "who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Walgreens said.
Those who are looking to get tested will need to pre-register in order to schedule an appointment for testing.
"Walgreens will dedicate temporary space at select locations, outside of the stores, where Walgreens pharmacists will oversee the self-administration of the COVID-19 test. Soon, 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."
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In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.