The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) released an update to its coronavirus testing plan with the state’s largest pharmacy chain piloting a new program.
Three Walgreens locations in each of the state’s three counties will participate in the program that will use state health labs. Walgreens also operates a low-profile appointment-only program in Delaware. Information can be obtained via survey
Delaware’s updated COVID-19 testing plan strives to address key considerations such as access, equity, and cost, according to a release from the division. The state has been working to take the pressure off hospital systems and the National Guard.
The plan focuses on vulnerable populations, including elderly Delawareans, members of low-income and minority communities, and certain front-line essential workers. The state is also preparing for testing that will be required with school openings.
“One of the cornerstones of this update is to provide consistent, stable testing availability to residents regardless of symptoms or insurance,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The basis for our plan is to show that testing options for Delawareans have expanded greatly from when this pandemic first began, and that Delawareans have easy access to COVID-19 testing of their choice, when and where they need it. Testing, and knowing your COVID status, is a key mitigation strategy in battling this pandemic.”
According to DPH, the testing strategy continues to evolve to one where all Delawareans have convenient access to testing when and where they need it. This includes an increased role for non-traditional venues such as pharmacies as well as urgent care centers, and even home testing kits, which are now more widely available.
The Division of Public Health also announced today a partnership with Walgreens to provide COVID-19 testing to residents.
The pilot project will include one location in each county starting Thursday, July 16. Participating locations include:
- New Castle County – Walgreens, 700 S. Ridge Ave., Middletown, DE 19709
- Kent County – Walgreens, 1215 S. State St., Dover, DE 19901
- Sussex County – Walgreens, 9202 Commercial Centre Drive, Bridgeville, DE 19933
Drive-thru pharmacy testing through this program will be available 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., seven days a week, and will be open to anyone who wishes to be tested, regardless of symptoms or insurance coverage.
No appointment is required. However, individuals should be advised that initial wait times may vary depending on the volume of traffic at a site. Walk-up testing will also be available on site at the external drive-thru location.
Customers should not come into the pharmacy for COVID-19 testing. The tests administered through this program will consist of self-administered nasal swabs, where the patient swabs the inside front of their nose. The specimen samples will be processed through the Delaware Public Health Laboratory.
The state’s second-largest pharmacy chain, Rite Aid operates a testing program under a federal program. (Earlier story below).
“The opening of these new COVID-19 testing sites are part of Walgreens’ ongoing commitment to provide greater access to testing in the communities we serve,” said James Satterfield, Walgreens regional healthcare director. “Walgreens has a long history of stepping up to support our customers and communities in times of need, and we’re pleased to be working in collaboration with the state of Delaware on this effort.”
DPH will work with Walgreens over the coming weeks to add additional pharmacy locations to the list of testing sites and is in discussion with other pharmacy chains to participate in the same effort. DPH is also working with a company to automate registration and reporting of results from these tests.
Additional information about COVID-19 testing, including a map and calendar of all of the available testing sites throughout the state, can be found at de.gov/gettested.The webpage was also updated Tuesday to make testing information easier to locate and navigate.
Since March 11, DPH has identified a total of 12,969 positive cases of COVID-19 among Delaware residentsUpdated statistics are available at de.gov/healthycommunity.