As part of CVS Health's ongoing effort to increase access to COVID-19 testing and help slow the spread of the virus, the company today announced plans to expand COVID-19 testing services currently offered at select CVS Pharmacy locations to include rapid-result testing at nearly 1,000 sites by the end of the year.
Rapid-result COVID-19 diagnostic tests are available at no cost to patients who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. In addition, rapid-result tests may also be available as a testing option for eligible employees or students affiliated with an organization that has adopted CVS Health's Return Ready return-to-work COVID-19 testing solution.
To date, CVS Health has administered more than 5 million COVID-19 tests since March, and currently manages more than 4,000 drive-thru test sites at CVS Pharmacy locations in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Most results from these existing test sites are generally available within 2 to 3 days. The company is adapting some of these sites and adding new locations to be able to deliver rapid results at nearly 1,000 sites by the end of the year. Nearly 100 of these rapid-result test sites will be operational this week.
"Access to rapid-result tests enables us to help minimize community spread of COVID-19 by being able to more quickly identify active COVID-19 infection," said David Fairchild, chief medical officer, MinuteClinic. "In addition, we can test and treat symptomatic patients who test negative for COVID-19 for seasonal illnesses such as flu or strep and provide appropriate treatment and care."
Patients must register in advance at CVS.com to schedule an appointment. Testing is also available for patients ages 12 to 17; a parent or legal guardian must complete the online registration and must accompany minors ages 15 and younger for testing.
When arriving for testing, patients are asked to follow signage or the instructions of the staff onsite. Procedures vary by location and patients may be directed to stay in their vehicle and proceed to a designated testing structure located in the parking lot or, in very limited locations, to enter a CVS store through a doorway specifically allocated for this purpose. Patients will be provided with a test kit, given instructions, and a CVS Health team member will observe the self-swab process. Patients will be directed to wait outside the store in their vehicle for results. The process, from the collection of the swab to the delivery of the results, will generally take approximately 30 minutes.
Patients who access rapid-result testing and receive a negative COVID-19 result will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment at the on-site MinuteClinic for further assessment and to determine if a rapid-result test for flu and strep would be appropriate. The MinuteClinic provider will then be able to provide counsel on a treatment plan and prescribe medications if clinically appropriate.
Nearly 100 of the planned rapid-result test sites will be operational at select CVS Pharmacy locations in 22 states as of this week. States include Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Patients seeking a COVID-19 test at CVS Pharmacy can find a complete list of locations and options offered here.
More information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the company's frequently updated COVID-19 resource center.