CVS Health is expanding its testing sites for COVID-19 to drive-through locations at 12 local CVS pharmacies in Connecticut.
They are among the first rollout of 51 sites across the country in several states, including Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
CVS Health already has large, standalone, rapid-test facilities in five states, including Connecticut, where more than 102,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus that reportedly has claimed the lives of 84,763 people in the United States.
Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement that he applauds the news that CVS Health is opening the new COVID-19 test sites in Connecticut.
“Increasing the amount of testing that’s being done and expanding the accessibility of that testing to all communities is a critical component of our efforts to keep Connecticut safe and healthy,” Lamont said.
The sites will not use the Abbott Laboratories fast test.
The large site at 60 Sargent Drive in New Haven, open since mid-April, and serving up to 750 people a day, is where Abbott Laboratories is using the fast test. A preliminary study says the Abbott coronavirus test failed to detect infected samples in a large number of cases that were caught by a rival firm, the Washington Post reported. Abbott denied Wednesday that there were major flaws in its test.
Among the separate CVS drive-through facilities at local pharmacies opening on Friday are locations in Cheshire, Stratford, Guilford and East Hampton. To get a test, interested residents must register for an appointment at cvs.com.
“I appreciate CVS working with us to expand COVID testing in Connecticut, particularly our urban centers,” state Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said in a statement. “Expanding our testing capacity is key to safely reopening Connecticut.”
The state is embarking on the first steps to reopening its economy starting on May 20.
The new test sites will use self-swab tests, and CVS Pharmacy members will explain how to use them. They will observe the process to make sure it is administered correctly. Patients will be required to remain in their cars.
The tests will be sent to a third-party lab for processing with the results available within an estimated three days.
CVS said employees participating in the test collection process will use personal protective equipment and follow sanitization protocols after each test.
Testing will not take place inside any retail locations, and CVS Pharmacy, HealthHUB and MinuteClinic will continue to serve customers and patients, the company said.
An individual can qualify for a test if they meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which includes anyone with symptoms or who has been in contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed of having the coronavirus within the last 14 days.
By the end of May, the company said it expects to have up to 1,000 locations across the country offering this service, with the goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month, depending on the availability of supplies and lab capacity.
“While the large-scale test sites we’ve been operating since early April have proven successful, this new approach allows us to utilize our presence in communities across the country and bring testing closer to home,” Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Health, said in a statement.
“Our frontline employees will continue to play a critical role in the testing process, with members of their communities directly benefiting from their dedication and selflessness,” Merlo said.
State Sen. Norm Needleman, D-Essex, encouraged anyone who has symptoms matching COVID-19 or who meets CDC criteria to pursue testing to preserve both their safety and public safety.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it's clear that increasing access and availability of testing will benefit and better protect our communities, potentially saving lives,” Needleman said in a statement.
The new testing sites in Connecticut include CVS Pharmacy sites at:
— 1 Hawley Lane, Stratford.
— 905 South Main St., Cheshire.
— 1057 Boston Post Road, Guilford.
— 54 East High St., East Hampton.
— 2639 Main St., Glastonbury.
— 875 Enfield St., Enfield.
— 525 Buckland St., South Windsor.
— 7 Durant Ave., Bethel.
— 479 Blue Hills Ave., Hartford.
— 3514 Main St., Coventry.
— 323 Cromwell Ave., Rocky Hill.
— 150 Washington St., Hartford.