A coronavirus test with a side of fries

by | Apr 10, 2020

Thousands of people will soon be able to drive to a nearby parking lot, swab their noses and find out within minutes if they have the coronavirus.

CVS Health and Walgreens each opened one drive-thru testing location last month — but they were restricted to first responders. They’re now expanding the number of sites and opening them to the general public.

  • Walgreens plans to open 15 more testing sites across seven states, starting this week.
  • CVS opened up two new drive-thrus on Monday.

Both are also using a new tool: Abbott Laboratories ID Now, which can deliver test results in minutes.

The new drive-thrus are open to the general public, but people must qualify for a test and make an appointment. On CVS’s and Walgreens websites, people must fill out an assessment that asks questions about the patient’s symptoms and risk factors. If people meet the criteria, they can make an appointment and get tested for free.

How it Works: When people drive up for their appointment, they’ll check-in and answer questions about their symptoms and health conditions. They’ll be directed to one of five lanes, and each person will get a swab from a medical professional dressed in protective gear.

Patients will administer their own test by rolling around the swab in both of their nostrils to collect a specimen, then drive to a parking lot area to wait for results. Results take about three to 15 minutes.

If people test positive, they receive a six-page packet of information, which stresses the importance of self-isolation and describes when they should seek medical care. The whole process takes about 30 mins, which is honestly faster than the Taco Bell drive-thru.

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