Delaware to partner with Walgreens to expand COVID-19 testing

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) released an update Wednesday to its statewide plan while announcing a testing partnership with Walgreens.

Delaware’s updated COVID-19 testing plan is meant to address key considerations such as access, equity and cost to ensure all Delawareans continue to have access to safe and efficient COVID-19 testing, the DPH said. The plan is structured to provide specific strategies for key populations defined in its original testing framework released in May, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations, including elderly Delawareans, members of low-income and minority communities, and certain front-line essential workers.

The new testing plan 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.

Starting today, one Walgreens location in each county will pilot the new testing initiative through the DPH’s partnership. Participating locations include:

• New Castle County – 700 S. Ridge Ave., Middletown

• Kent County – 1215 S. State St., Dover

• Sussex County – 9202 Commercial Centre Drive, Bridgeville

“We continue to strive to make sure there are enough testing locations,” said DPH Chief Physician Dr. Rick Pescatore. “Part of that falls well into our announcement about the Walgreens partnership and our continued march toward a growing infrastructure through the pharmacy footprint. There can always be more (testing), and we’re going to work every day to increase that access.”

Drive-thru pharmacy testing through this program will be available 9 a.m. to 5 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 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 his or her nose. The specimen samples will be processed through the Delaware Public Health Laboratory.

The 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. The DPH said it is also working with a company to automate registration and reporting of results from these tests.

Case update

There were 81 new positive COVID-19 cases reported by the DPH on Wednesday as the total number of cases rose above the 13,000-mark to 13,050. That number decreased by 19 compared to the day prior.

The DPH also announced three new COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday, upping Delaware’s total deaths to 521.

The three deaths ranged in age from 73 to 74 years old, the DPH reported, and all three had underlying health conditions. Two of the deaths were from Kent County while the other was from Sussex County.

Current COVID-19 hospitalizations are at 51, an increase of three compared to the day before, with 11 of those hospitalizations listed as critical.

The percentage of positive tests was 4.5% as the two-week rolling average remained under 5% at 4.3%.

A total of 130,338 Delawareans have tested negative for the virus while 7,236 are listed as recovered, meaning one week without symptoms.

All numbers provided by the DPH are as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.

For more information

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 and added a tool to now search by zip code for testing sites.

The main goal for the updated COVID-19 testing plan is to balance the need for predictability, flexibility and sustainability, the DPH said in its release.

It is meant to provide members of the community with easy access and consistent messages about where to get tested to help with early detection while allowing the ability to be responsive to outbreaks and urgent needs plus using its resources wisely given the projected duration of the pandemic.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Staff writer Noah Zucker contributed to this report.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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