Some Walgreens stores in Texas to offer drive-thru COVID-19 tests

(KWTX) Walgreens is expanding drive-thru testing for COVID-19 to 15 stores in Texas and six other states beginning this week.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the program Wednesday, a day after Walgreens said it was expanding the program.

“In early stages, a lot of the testing collection material or testing equipment itself was provided by federal government,” Abbott said Wednesday.

“It was sent to us thru FEMA or state health authorities. Now the majority of testing is provided by testing facilities or hospital oriented facilities or private healthcare related facilities,” he said.

“Bottom line is, what ever the source may be we are seeing more testing achieved in the state of Texas and very proud of something that will be happening very soon in Texas.”

Sites in Texas where the testing will be offered weren’t identified Wednesday.

The tests, using Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test, which delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes, will be available free to people who meet U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.

Pre-registration is required.

The testing sites outside of stores will be opened in “hot spot markets with escalating rates of COVID-19 cases,” the company said in a press release.

Harris and Dallas counties have the highest case counts in the state, followed by Travis, Tarrant, Bexar and Fort Bend counties.

The company says it should be able to test as many as 3,000 people per day across the 15 sites, which should begin operations this week.

“Walgreens remains committed to working with federal, state and local governments, as well as industry partners to meet the needs of the communities we serve across the country during the pandemic,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president.

“We’re continuing to do everything we can, both with our own resources and also by partnering with others, to serve as an access point within the community for COVID-19 testing. Opening our first drive-thru testing location last month has allowed us to quickly learn and develop an efficient and scalable process, and we’re pleased to be working with Abbott to help accelerate our efforts, and to enable quick results for those being tested.”

The company opened its first drive-thru testing site on March 21 in the Chicago area.

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