CVS, Walgreens to offer free COVID-19 testing

CVS Pharmacy stores to offer 'self-swab' coronavirus testing



Governor Andrew Cuomo says his administration’s main focus now is to scale-up testing across the state for the coronavirus. On Saturday , he announced plans to let independent pharmacists across New York to be designated test collection sites. (April 25).

AP Domestic

Drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens are expanding free coronavirus testing services.

CVS Health announced Monday that starting in May, it “will offer self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.” The move comes in addition to large-scale testing the company has been offering at some locations in five states since March.

The new free self-swab testing will take place at up to 1,000 CVS locations by the end of May, which equals more than 1 in 10 of the company’s stores.

Patients will schedule tests online and will get tested in CVS parking lots or drive-through windows. The company won’t conduct testing inside of its stores.

The company said its goal is to process up to 1.5 million tests monthly.

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Separately, CVS rival Walgreens announced it’s opening free drive-through nasal-swab testing sites in 49 states and Puerto Rico. It was not immediately clear how many stores would offer tests, but the company said it expects to test more than 50,000 people weekly once it’s fully operational. 

Walgreens already has 18 drive-through testing sites open in 11 states. Patients must make an appointment online and meet CDC criteria

Walgreens said it would “focus its efforts on improving access to testing in underserved communities, and over time will also be working with companies to provide testing to employees, to help more businesses re-open in the weeks and months ahead.”

CVS also said it would place a special emphasis on improving “access to testing and necessary care for historically underserved communities,” including boosting mobile testing options.

“Employees participating in the test collection process will maintain safety using personal protective equipment and follow sanitization protocols after each test,” CVS said in a statement.

People who attempt to register for a test will be “asked a series of questions based on established CDC criteria for testing,” CVS spokesman T.J. Crawford said in an email. “If you meet that criteria, you’ll be able to choose a time slot.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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