CVS Health To Open More Than 50 COVID-19 Test Sites Today

CVS Health Corp. is set to open more that 50 new COVID-19 drive-thru test sites today at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across five states – Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

These sites will use self-swab tests and mark the next phase of the company’s COVID-19 testing strategy.

The healthcare provider is expecting to scale this up to 1,000 new COVID-19 drive-thru test sites by end of May, processing up to 1.5 million tests per month based on the lab capacity and the availability of supplies.

The Self-swab tests will be available to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria, in addition to age guidelines. Patients must register online in advance at beginning Friday, May 15 to schedule an appointment.

The individuals need to stay in their cars while approaching pharmacy drive-thru window to receive the test kit and instructions will be given by a CVS Pharmacy team member, who will also observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly. The sample will be sent to an independent, third-party lab for processing and the results will be available in approximately three days.

CVS said the COVID-19 testing will take place in parking lots or at drive-thru windows and will not take place inside any of their retail locations. CVS Pharmacy, HealthHUB and MinuteClinic locations will continue to serve customers and patients.

Since early April, the company has been successfully operating large-scale COVID-19 drive-thru rapid test sites in coordination with five states, which can process a total of nearly 30,000 tests per week. These sites in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island are using the new Abbott ID NOW point-of-care COVID-19 tests.

The Abbott ID NOW test received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of COVID-19. Positive results can be delivered in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes.

However, the FDA on Thursday warned the public about possible accuracy concerns with Abbott ID NOW test. Specifically, the FDA said the test may return false negative results. This test can still be used as it can correctly identify many positive cases in minutes, but negative results may need to be confirmed with a high-sensitivity authorized molecular test, the FDA added.

The FDA is investigating whether the inaccuracy could be due to the types of swabs used or the type of viral transport media, which is the material used to transport the patient’s specimen. The agency has received 15 adverse event reports.

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