Free coronavirus testing will continue at Rite Aid


PORTSMOUTH, VA. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads residents will need an identification card, but not their credit card when they pull up to Rite Aid drug stores for self-administered coronavirus testing.

Late last month, the national chain announced free testing would end December 1. But, thanks to last-minute negotiations with the Department of Health and Human Services, Rite Aid was able to save and expand the free testing program.

A spokesman for the drug store chain says the December 1 cut off could have been devastating as infection cases soar across the country.

“That was our concern because our funding is so crucial to this. It’s a no-questions-asked [testing program]. If you qualify for it, you can get tested. We don’t ask for proof of insurance. We really don’t need anything,” said Chris Altman who is the Clinical Manager for Rite Aid.

Rite Aid COVID-19 testing is now allowed for anyone over the age of 13. The initial phase of testing was for ages 18 and up. Altman also told 10 On Your Side published reports about the company’s plans to bring COVID-19 testing to 1000 additional stores is premature and that the company is looking at all options based on future funding.

Qualifying customers must schedule appointments online and results are delivered via email a few days after testing. Altman says testing remains a critical component in infection mitigation.

“We still see the virus spreading, we still see people getting sick, we still see reports of hospitals getting at capacity to treat folks,” said Altman.

Drug store chains CVS and Walgreens also offer COVID-19 testing. The drug store’s websites offer detailed information on the types of testing that is available and whether the test is free or covered by insurance companies.

Several safe and effective vaccines will be widely distributed beginning next year; until then, medical professionals say this free testing will allow residents, especially those who live or work in high-risk situations to get free testing near their homes even if they have no insurance and no symptoms of COVID- 9. Altman says as we enter the winter season don’t let your guard down; vaccines will not be widely available until spring.

“We haven’t gotten that vaccine in arms yet…we just need to keep on this path of keeping each other safe and wearing our masks and hand washing trying to avoid contact when we can,” said Altman.

Rite Aid is a federal pharmacy partner for phase two of coronavirus vaccinations. Once the vaccine is available for the general public, every drug store will have the vaccine and every pharmacist will be qualified to administer the vaccine, according to Altman.

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