Some CVS Health (CVS 3.49%) customers are getting a fast new option for COVID-19 testing. Healthcare providers that normally work at the company's retail medical clinics in Georgia and Rhode Island will begin providing drive-up testing in two parking lot pop-ups with results provided while customers wait.
The technology making this new rapid drive-up service possible is Abbott's (ABT 0.56%) ID NOW system. Abbott's machines can amplify and read genetic material quickly enough to provide results for COVID-19 (or a handful of other infections) in minutes.
For the safety of its customers and staff, CVS Health will run the rapid-testing services outside its stores. The testers will set up shop in parking lots large enough to accommodate multiple vehicle lanes. Eligible patients will need to register online before showing up at one of CVS Health's pop-up test locations.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said the rapid-testing site CVS Health has planned will double her state's capacity to provide on-the-spot results to thousands daily. Patients will need to meet state residency and age guidelines.
On March 19, CVS Health opened a parking lot test site in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, that initially focused on serving first responders and healthcare workers. CVS Health intends to apply lessons learned from that first pop-up molecular diagnostics service center to the new sites in Rhode Island and Georgia.
Rapid testing isn't the first step CVS Health has taken to address the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, the company has also waived charges for home delivery of prescription drugs and dropped the copays for telemedicine visits for those covered by its health insurance service, Aetna.