Rite Aid to expand coronavirus testing sites across 7 states

Rite Aid will utilize self-swab nasal tests overseen by pharmacists

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Rite Aid is helping in the fight against the novel coronavirus by opening additional drive-thru testing sites at hot spots across the U.S.

In addition to its current testing site in Philadelphia, the drug store chain announced Tuesday it opened an additional site in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as part of its partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The Harrisburg testing site will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The company expects to be able to test up to 200 patients at the site per day.

Testing will be free of charge for those who meet the criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, patients need to register online and schedule a time slot.

Rite Aid, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, also expects to open additional sites in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut and Virginia shortly after, although the company did not specify when that could occur.

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All of the testing locations will utilize self-swab nasal tests which will be overseen by Rite Aid pharmacists, the company announced Tuesday.

"Through our partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and with tremendous support from state and local officials, we will significantly expand COVID-19 testing to more than 5,000 tests daily in our country's key hot spots when fully operational," said Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan. "We are incredibly proud of the outstanding work and commitment of all our Rite Aid associates both in our stores and at the testing sites who are providing an important and critical service to the communities we serve."

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The move marks a significant step in the U.S. testing effort which has been hindered by a lack of supplies and patient access to testing sites.

In March, President Trump and senior staffers laid out a new testing strategy designed to screen hundreds of thousands of Americans at drive-thru centers based around major retail chains after health officials criticized the country's initial testing effort. Since then, major drugstore chains such as Walgreens, CVSHealth and Walmart have stepped in to help, offering up their parking lots so more individuals could gain access to the critically needed test.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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