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In 2 States, a 'Giant Leap Forward' in Virus Testing

CVS Health launches 2 new rapid-testing drive-thrus in Georgia, Rhode Island
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2020 12:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – People who think they might have COVID-19 now have two new locations to go to for confirmation: CVS Health drive-thrus in Georgia and Rhode Island. Per CNBC, the company hopes to handle up to 1,000 tests daily, using Abbott Laboratories' new rapid-testing kits, at the sites in Atlanta and outside of Providence—though patients will have to preregister and prequalify online to snag an appointment. CVS says patients won't have to pay for the tests, as the initiative is being funded by the feds, per Reuters. "Our providers will be able to test large numbers of people in these states and make real-time decisions about treatment," says Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Health's CMO. A CVS Health release notes that the Abbott test, which was recently given emergency authorization by the FDA, can show negative results in 13 minutes and positive results in five.

Reuters notes that expanded testing is "seen as a key component" in getting people back to work and restarting the economy. Per Business Insider, drive-thru testing not affiliated with CVS has cropped up in most other states, though sites are limited. Brian Kemp, Georgia's governor, says his state is "grateful" to CVS for the "unique, public-private partnership" that will help to keep the virus from spreading, while Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo calls the development "a giant leap forward." Brennan notes that these two new sites, plus one already up and running in Massachusetts, are a test-drive so officials can gauge volume and open more sites like this. Up to four more locations are expected to follow, with the next opening set to be announced Tuesday in a new state. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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