Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) is doing some of the heavy lifting to ramp up the nation's capacity to test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The pharmacy chain operator announced Tuesday it is opening more drive-up COVID-19 testing sites at Rite Aid stores in seven states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia.
Previously, the company was operating a single pilot testing site in Philadelphia.
The first of the new testing operations, which will all be located in the stores' parking lots, has already been opened in Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg. The company expects to be able to conduct 200 tests per day at that location. Testing will take place every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Testing at the other new locations should be up and running within several weeks, Rite Aid said.
In order to get tested, patients must pre-register on the company's website. Once at the site, self-swab nasal tests will be provided, with the sample-collection process monitored by company pharmacists. Patients will remain inside their vehicles for the duration.
Rite Aid said that to be tested, patients must meet criteria for testing set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will be required to produce government-issued identification when on site. Those eligible will be given the tests free of charge.
The company is offering the tests as part of its partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Rite Aid said that in conjunction with that body "and with tremendous support from state and local officials, we will significantly expand COVID-19 testing to more than 5,000 tests daily in our country's key hot spots when fully operational."
The healthcare company's stock closed trading Tuesday up by 9.4%, well exceeding the 3.1% gains of the broader equities market as measured by the S&P 500 index.