Walgreens said Tuesday that it would open 15 coronavirus transit testing centers in seven states later this week.
The test service will be provided in areas with escalating cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, the drugstore chain said: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas. According to the company, the exact locations are still being worked out in cooperation with the US Department of Health.
The widespread testing for COVID-19 was hampered by a shortage of test kits, and Walgreen’s announcement came almost a month after President Donald Trump announced that the company and three other companies – CVS Health, Target, and Walmart – would offer drive-through checks for in-store parking .
However, adoption of these services has been slow and retailers have had problemsand others to get enough protective gear for those who monitor the tests. Walmart has two test sites in the Chicago area, while Rite Aid is piloting a test site in Philadelphia.
To stay out of business, Walgreens pharmacists will administer Abbott Laboratory’s COVID-19 test themselves, with positive results in just five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, the company said.
Walgreens opened a transit test facility in the Chicago region in late March, but was limited to first aiders.
“By opening our first transit test site last month, we were able to learn quickly and develop an efficient and scalable process. We look forward to working with Abbott to accelerate our efforts and provide quick results for the test subjects,” said Richard Ashworth, President of Walgreens, in the statement.
CVS plans to open a rapid test facility in Lowell, Massachusetts, following a pilot project in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts last month. In addition, locations were opened in Georgia and Rhode Island on Monday.