Walgreens announced plans to open COVID-19 testing locations in 49 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, as it further expands drive-thru testing to help meet the growing need in communities nationwide.
To date, Walgreens has opened 18 COVID-19 drive-thru testing locations across 11 states and expects to have 23 sites open in 15 states by the end of the week. Walgreens pharmacists are overseeing individuals’ self-administration of COVID-19 tests at these locations, the company said.
With this latest expansion, Walgreens will 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, the retailer said.
All new testing locations will be determined in collaboration with the administration, federal health agencies and state and local authorities, and once all sites are fully operational, Walgreens expects to test more than 50,000 people each week, it added.
The scale and timing of the overall testing expansion is dependent on the availability of tests and overall lab capacity.
“We’re continuing to make steady progress on our efforts to expand COVID-19 testing and are proud to join others in the industry to help bring more testing resources to communities across the U.S., with an immediate focus on underserved communities,” said Walgreens President Richard Ashworth.
“This public-private partnership remains critical to keeping our communities healthy and enabling more Americans to return to work once they can do so safely,” he said.
“I’m truly grateful for our Walgreens pharmacists, who are playing a critical role in overseeing COVID-19 testing at these locations, while enabling us to serve as a much-needed and trusted point of access,” he said.
This latest planned expansion is being made possible through Walgreens’ partnership with LabCorp, as the companies are furthering their relationship to triple Walgreens’ current testing capacity, the retailer said.
The new testing sites will utilize LabCorp’s COVID-19 nasal swab diagnostic test to determine if an individual currently has the virus.
LabCorp is also offering antibody blood testing at more than 100 LabCorp at Walgreens patient service center locations beginning today. The antibody blood tests detect the presence of antibodies to the virus and can help identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus.
“We’re bringing the full force of LabCorp’s science and testing capabilities to serve individuals across the U.S. whether they had the virus or believe they have the virus,” said Adam Schechter, president of LabCorp.
“We’re proud to strengthen our existing partnership with Walgreens and we stand with all Americans, healthcare workers, and those on the frontlines who are helping people in need,” he said
Drive-thru testing is available by appointment only, and only to individuals who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria. To get tested, individuals must first complete an online health assessment to determine eligibility.
Testing is available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet CDC criteria. All drive-thru testing is being conducted outside and patients are instructed to not leave their vehicles, the retaier said.