The nation's largest pharmacy chain is rapidly expanding its COVID-19 testing, promising to open more than 1,000 new sites across the U.S. by the end of May. On Friday, May 22, CVS will launch 44 of these in Texas, including five in Austin and one in Round Rock.
CVS offers drive-thru, contactless testing for the novel coronavirus, which means that, yes, the test is self-administered. Patients must first make an appointment online (a doctor referral is not required) and meet the necessary criteria per the Centers for Disease Control.
After approval, the patient must come to their nearest location at the assigned time. Walk-up testing is not available.
At the drive-thru site, the person remains in their vehicle while an employee confirms their identity and provides instructions on how to administer the self-swab test. The CVS team member then watches to ensure the swab is done correctly.
The test is then returned to the CVS employee and sent to an off-site lab for processing. Results should be received in two to three days.
No testing will happen inside the retail stores or CVS Minute Clinics, notes a release.
In the Austin metro area, COVID-19 testing is available at the following CVS locations:
- 5526 S. Congress Ave.
- 2610 Lake Austin Blvd.
- 11300 N. Lamar Blvd.
- 11725 North FM 620
- 3500 W. Slaughter Lane
- 1855 Gattis School Rd. in Round Rock
Each site has the capacity to conduct 50 tests per day, and most health insurance companies will not require patients to pay out-of-pocket costs to get the COVID-19 test. If you do not have insurance, bring your driver's license, a photo ID, or Social Security card with you.
CVS began its COVID-19 response in April, deploying testing sites largely in the Northeast. According to the company, shifting to self-swab tests allows the pharmacy chain to administer more coronavirus tests faster.
"While the large-scale test sites we've been operating since early April have proven successful, this new approach allows us to utilize our presence in communities across the country and bring testing closer to home," said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, of CVS Health, in a release. "Our frontline employees will continue to play a critical role in the testing process, with members of their communities directly benefitting from their dedication and selflessness."