It's free and open seven days a week
Think you might have coronavirus? Starting Wednesday, April 22, people can go to the parking lot of the Rite Aid on 200 Pharmacy Drive in Smyrna to get tested without leaving their car.
With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rite Aid opened the first one near Philadelphia April 13. The drive-thru testing site is one of 11 opening at Rite Aid stores across the country this week that can give about 200 tests each day.
The tests will be available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
Chris Altman, Rite Aid clinical manager, has been helping organize these sites. “We wanted to make testing available to the communities we serve,” Altman said. “And also get them their answers about what to do next.”
Here’s how the free testing works:Anyone who is at least 18 years old and has symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, tiredness, etc.), can go to this website: https://www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19/eligibility/. An online screening will determine that person’s eligibility for testing based on CDC guidelines. If eligible, the person (let’s call him John Smith) can schedule an appointment, usually for within the next 24 hours. At the parking lot, he will show a driver’s license or a government I.D. Then, he will drive up to a tent where a pharmacist will be waiting with all his paperwork ready. The pharmacist will stand six feet away from the car, and the driver will roll down his window. The equipment for the test will be on a table next to the car, and the pharmacist will tell him how to do the test himself. After using a swab in each nostril, he seals up the test and places it on the table. The test goes to the lab. Results will come back within two to seven days, depending on the demand at the lab. If negative, John will receive an email. If positive, he will get a phone call from a healthcare provider telling him next steps, such as guidance on telling his close contacts about his diagnosis and what to do if his symptoms get worse.
Because Rite Aid’s retail stores are open, Altman said testing in the parking lot with everyone in their vehicles will keep shoppers and employees safe.
Since the symptoms of coronavirus overlap with many different illnesses, and allergies persist during this time of year, it can be hard to know if you are really sick. Altman suggested that anyone who is worried should get tested if eligible. “Go ahead and get tested so you have that peace of mind,” he said.
Rite Aid plans to add more testing sites with the goal of taking care of its communities.
“At Rite Aid, we take pride in our pharmacists,” Altman said. “This is a great time to leverage those pharmacists and leverage our relationship and use that as our resource to rally as a community to get people the care when they need it.”