Pharmacy giant Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) announced Monday that BioReference will provide the testing services in the drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites it's beginning to deploy in the parking lots of some of its stores.
Earlier this month, Opko announced that BioReference was about to hit the milestone of 200,000 patients tested for COVID-19 at various healthcare facilities throughout the U.S. At the time, Opko said that BioReference was pushing to boost its capacity from 20,000 tests per day to 35,000.
That added capacity will be necessary, given that the U.S. is still significantly behind where it needs to be in testing. At present, there is too little capacity to test everyone who is showing symptoms of the illness, let alone everyone who may have been exposed; the nation needs to radically increase the number of people being tested if it's to have a chance at getting a handle on the pandemic.
Together, Rite Aid and Opko/BioReference are doing their part to help close the testing gap; in its announcement, the pharmacy chain said that on Wednesday, it's opening 11 new testing locations at stores in eight states, including New York, New Jersey, and Ohio.
The new locations will give Rite Aid a total of 24 testing sites, with the capacity to test 5,000 people daily.
Understandably, investors were pleased with Opko following this news. In contrast to the overall stock market decline on Monday, the healthcare company's shares rose by almost 16.5%.