Next phase will utilize company presence in communities across the country
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) will join other pharmacy chains and retailers at the White House today to announce the next phase in COVID-19 testing. In addition to the large-scale test sites the company has been operating since March, CVS Health will utilize its expansive community presence to bring testing closer to home while maintaining strict safety standards.
"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."
Beginning in May, CVS Health will offer self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Testing will be scheduled online and take place at select CVS Pharmacy locations in parking lots or at drive-thru windows; no testing will take place in-store. Employees participating in the test collection process will maintain safety using personal protective equipment and follow sanitization protocols after each test. The company expects to have up to 1,000 locations across the country offering this service by the end of May, with the goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity.
CVS Health's COVID-19 testing strategy is driven by science, but also by the reality that minorities have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. The company has partnered with several organizations, including the National Medical Association, to improve access to testing and necessary care for historically underserved communities. CVS Health is also developing mobile solutions that will allow health care professionals to bring testing capabilities to these communities, and those same services can be utilized for businesses that will begin to re-open in the coming weeks and months.
CVS Health currently operates large-scale COVID-19 rapid test sites in five states, which were opened in a matter of weeks through partnerships with the Department of Health and Human Services and governors in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island. Most of the parking lot sites can accommodate up to 1,000 tests per day, and sites are overseen by licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic inside CVS Pharmacy locations, with assistance from CVS pharmacists and other employees.
"The selflessness displayed every day by the health care professionals at CVS Health and around the world is inspiring beyond words, and we owe them a debt of gratitude," Merlo continued. "The same is true for frontline workers everywhere who continue to provide essential goods and services when we need them most."
More information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including support for health care providers and clinicians facing financial and administrative strain, is available at the company's frequently updated COVID-19 resource center.