CVS to Offer Rapid Flu, Strep Tests at 1,100 In-Store Clinics

CVS Health Corp. will offer rapid strep throat and influenza tests at its roughly 1,100 MinuteClinics by mid-November, the company said Friday.

The drugstore chain piloted this approach at its HealthHUB stores in Houston last year, spokesman T.J. Crawford said in an email Friday. CVS will expand the offerings to clinics across the country at a time when testing has become a linchpin of American life.

Since buying insurer Aetna in 2018, CVS has expanded the range of health services available in its stores. The company and its rivals are also becoming bigger players in the U.S. response to the pandemic. CVS and Walgreens are expected to play a significant role in distributing an eventual Covid-19 vaccine, and they’ve been important ramping up screening.

Public health officials are warning of a possible “twindemic” of the novel coronavirus and seasonal influenza. The wide range of symptoms of Covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, can mimic those of influenza and even strep throat. That means screening for these conditions could be more important than usual.

CVS offers Covid-19 testing at about 4,000 of its nearly 10,000 stores. The company recently said it would introduce rapid coronavirus tests at nearly 1,000 sites by the end of the year.

Covid-19 tests are conducted in drive-through lanes. Strep and influenza tests will be done inside the clinics, where providers will be equipped with personal protective equipment and will follow cleaning protocols, Crawford said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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