Rite Aid expands coronavirus test program to include teens

The tests will now be available to teens as young as 13.

Rite Aid Corp. will continue offering free coronavirus testing to both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and even expand the program to include children as young as 13.

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The drug store chain made the announcement on Tuesday after an earlier press release had announced that beginning Dec. 1, all testing would cost $115 due to the "end of federal funding for diagnostic testing by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."

In an updated press release, Rite Aid said effective immediately, and through the HHS partnership, it would begin offering no-charge testing to individuals 13 years of age and older.

Previously, testing was only available through Rite Aid to people 18 years of age or older. Now, parents or legal guardians of individuals 13-18 years of age will be able to create Baseline COVID-19 accounts and provide consent for individuals under 18 to be tested. Parents or legal guardians will have to show government-issued identification and must accompany the child to the test appointment.

Rite Aid had also earlier mentioned an expansion of 1,000 drive-thru testing sites, but the updated press release did not mention such plans.

The drug store chain has been offering self-swab nasal tests that are overseen by pharmacists seven days a week during select business hours. The program will be paused on Thanksgiving and Friday but will resume on Saturday, Nov. 28.

Customers will need to pre-register for a test online and schedule a time slot at one of the 301 testing sites across 15 states currently available. A complete list of testing locations can be found online.

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"We're proud to continue serving as an essential part of the pandemic response in the neighborhoods we serve," Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid's president and chief executive officer, said in the updated press release. "Continuing to make testing available -- and now, to a broader age range -- is an important next step in continuing to fight COVID-19."