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CVS opens its first drive-up testing site in Massachusetts, focuses on first responders

A pedestrian walks through the parking lot of a CVS Health Corp. store in Oakland, California, Aug. 2, 2019.

Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

CVS has opened its first drive-up testing location for the coronavirus in Massachusetts.

Starting around 3 pm on Thursday, the health-care company began offering tests in a pharmacy parking lot in Shrewsbury, about 50 miles west of Boston in Worcester County. It is not open to the general public and tests are limited to first responders, such as firefighters, nurses and police, company spokesman Joe Goode said.

CVS is one of four retailers that pledged on March 13 at a White House press conference that it would open drive-up testing locations to help detect COVID-19 and fight its spread.

Walmart, Target and Walgreens also committed to hosting drive-up testing in their parking lots. The other retailers have not yet announced the timing or locations of tests.

CVS is staffing the location with its own nurse practitioners and pharmacists, Goode said. It closed the Massachusetts store to increase safety and make operations easier, he said.

At the test site, people will drive to different stations in their car. They will first get a temperature check. If they have a fever, they will go to a registration station and get a number that’s attached to their test kit to later look up results. 

After registration, they will go to a swabbing station where they are tested. The swabbed sample will be wrapped in cellophane three times and frozen to keep it safe when it’s transported to the lab, Goode said. A private lab, which is not owned by CVS, will do the testing and deliver a result in about 48 hours, he said.

All employees will be in protective gear, he said.

He said CVS is still getting the new site up and running, but it expects to do 12 tests per hour. It will be open from 8 am to 8 pm, he said.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates. 

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