Three major retailers are planning to increase their respective levels of testing for COVID-19.
CVS Health announced that it will begin offering self-swab tests, with the goal of providing the service at up 1,000 locations by the end of May. Individuals that meet the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for COVID-19 exams will be able to schedule the tests online, which will be provided either at the pharmacy drive-thru window or in the store parking lot. CVS Health currently operates large-scale COVID-19 rapid test sites in five states including Connecticut.
“Our industry has been united by the unique role we can play in addressing the pandemic and protecting people’s health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Health. “We all share the same goal, and that’s dramatically increasing the frequency and efficiency of testing so we can slow the spread of the virus and start to responsibly reopen the economy when experts tell us it’s safe.”
Separately, Walgreens unveiled plans to open COVID-19 testing sites in 49 states and Puerto Rico. The scale and locations will be determined in collaboration with government health agencies. The company is aiming to test more than 50,000 people each week.
“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,” Walgreens President Richard Ashworth said.
Walmart has also announced efforts to add more COVID-19 testing operations. The retail giant started offering free drive-thru test sites in mid-March and operates 20 sites in 12 states, with plans to add another 25 this week and more than 100 sites by the end of May, with the goal of testing 20,000 people per week. Walmart has several testing sites in upstate New York, but the company did not announce if the new sites will include locations in Westchester and Fairfield counties.
“We are very proud of the work completed to get us to 45 sites, but we are anxious to do more and serve more communities where we are located – 90% of the U.S. population is within 10 miles of a Walmart,” said Dan Bartlett, executive vice president of corporate affairs.