CHICAGO (CBS) — Walgreens says it plans to open 15 drive-thru testing locations for the novel coronavirus in seven states, allowing a total of up to 3,000 people to be checked per day.
The sites will use Abbott Laboratories’ new ID NOW COVID-19 test, which can provide positive results in as little as 5 minutes, and negative results within 13 minutes. The technology behind the test looks for genes that are present in the virus, similar to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests already on the market.
Walgreens is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to finalize the 15 locations for drive-thru testing. The sites will be in COVID-19 hot spots in seven states; including Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas, according to Walgreens. Once open later this week, up to 3,000 people a day will be tested across the sites.
“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, Walgreens president. “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. 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.”
The tests will be free to those who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients must register in advance in order to schedule a testing appointment.
Walgreens pharmacists will oversee the self-administration of the tests at dedicated space at each location, outside Walgreens stores. An online assessment tool will soon be available to direct patients to testing locations via Walgreens.com and the Walgreens mobile app.