COLUMBUS (WCMH) — CVS Health opened nearly three dozen drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in Ohio on Friday.
The testing sites are located throughout the state, with a dozen of them in central Ohio alone.
“We’ve tried to target under-served communities as well, where access to care was not readily available,” explained Sarita Saade-Harfouch, a regional director of CVS retail stores
Saade-Harfouch is in charge of overseeing the launch of hundreds of drive-thru testing sites across a six-state area in the Midwest, including Ohio.
“As we look at reopening America, there are several criteria that are needed, and one of them is to increase access to testing,” said Saade-Harfouch.
For patients, this means convenience as they can administer the swab test themselves in the comfort of their car under the direction of a trained technician.
The testing isn’t for anyone who wants it. People still need to qualify to get tested and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced this week anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 now qualifies to receive a test. If you qualify, you still need to an appointment at CVS for the test should you chose to go there.
You can find out if you qualify by first visiting this website and answering the questions. If you qualify. it will allow you to book an appointment at the CVS store of your choice that is offering the drive-thru testing.
When you arrive at the store, you simply drive up to the window and the technician will deliver a testing kit in a sealed plastic bag and walk you through the steps of administering the test.
“A lot of people are reluctant, maybe scared, maybe anxious about the process,” said Saade-Harfouch. “It is a pretty simple process once they go through it. We have experts doing the testing that will support them.”
After you finish the test, you seal it up and deposit it in the drop box where a third-party testing company will pick it up and start determining the results, which should be available in a few days.
“If we test someone and we test them positive, then they can quarantine and hopefully not infect everybody around them,” said Saade-Harfouch. “What it’s going to help us do is prevent the spread. A lot of people may be asymptomatic and may be out there going shopping and interacting with family members and spreading it, without knowing that. So, once we can uncover it quickly, we’re going to be able to quarantine folks.”
CVS isn’t the nationwide chain to get a test. Ohio Department of Health press secretary Melanie Amato released this statement Friday.
“As more Ohioans get tested, the better knowledge we will have of where this virus is present in communities, said Amato. “ODH also now offers a map on our website that indicates testing sites throughout Ohio. The map is a combination of private companies offering testing and Community Health Centers. All of these sites play a role in helping our state stop the virus from spreading and keeping people safe.”
If you do choose to go to CVS, your test will be free whether you have health insurance or not.
“I do think this is the first step toward stopping the spread and being able to open up Ohio even more to the whole population,” said Saade-Harfouch.”It’s going to help us identify and uncover more positive people, obviously, just because we are doing more testing. I don’t think that’s a negative.”