Drugstore retailers are working to speed up the rollout of COVID-19 testing sites across the country. CVS is aiming to open as many as 1,000 locations by the end of May, while Walgreens is planning to open an unspecified number of sites in 49 states and Puerto Rico — although both efforts may be constrained by the availability of supplies and lab capacity.
The CVS testing efforts will utilize parking lots and drive-thru windows at select CVS Pharmacy locations for the expansion. Additionally, the retailer will work with several organizations, including the National Medical Association, to put an emphasis on improving testing in historically underserved communities. This will include the development of mobile testing and care solutions that can be utilized by other businesses as they reopen in these areas.
Testing will be handled by CVS employees, who will use personal protective equipment and follow sanitization protocols after each test. CVS hopes to process up to 1.5 million tests per month, provided it can reserve the equipment and lab time necessary to do so.
Walgreens’ expansion is aimed at creating the capacity to test 50,000 people per week across the U.S., with a similar focus on helping underserved communities and opening testing to other companies.
The expansion will build on the partnership between Walgreens and LabCorp, which also is offering antibody blood testing at more than 100 LabCorp at Walgreens patient service centers . These blood tests detect the presence of antibodies to the virus and can help identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus.
The latest openings will build on an existing COVID-19 testing site network, which includes eight CVS locations across five states, 18 Walgreens locations across 11 states and 25 Rite Aid locations across eight states. All three retailers are directing patients to reserve time slots online and are enforcing social distancing precautions to prevent further spread of the disease.