3 Austin-area CVS locations now offering free COVID-19 rapid tests

Flu season and cedar fever coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are likely to make for a worrying winter. To improve access to tests for the novel coronavirus, CVS is rolling out rapid tests in 21 stores across the state, including three in Austin.

The Rhode Island-based healthcare company announced its expansion to COVID-19 testing on October 28 and hopes to offer the service in 1,000 clinics nationwide by the end of the year.

On the Austin subway, rapid COVID-19 tests are available starting this week at the following CVS branches:

  • 10550 W. Parmer Ln.

  • 2306 RR 620 South at Lakeway

  • 2013 Kelly Ln. in Pflugerville

Test results are usually available within 30 minutes. Rapid COVID-19 tests are available free of charge to patients who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, to those with private insurance, or to those covered by the U.S. Department of Health. Read more about the test costs here.

Patients must register in advance with CVS.com to receive a rapid test. Tests are also available for patients 12-17 years of age, but must have a parent or guardian fill out the test information. Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied to the test site by an adult.

Once patients are on site, they should stay in their vehicle and go to a designated location in the parking lot. In rare cases, the test takes place in-store. Therefore, follow the signs and instructions.

“By having access to rapid tests, we can minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the community by helping us identify an active COVID-19 infection more quickly,” said David Fairchild, MD, chief medical officer of MinuteClinic. “In addition, we can test and treat symptomatic patients who test COVID-19 negative for seasonal illnesses such as the flu or strep and provide appropriate treatment and care.”

Earlier this year, CVS expanded its COVID-19 response with drive-through services in 33 states, including Texas. The company’s latest offer is due to a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases, including 500,000 new cases in the last week alone. As of October 26, Texas had more than 874,000 confirmed cases and 17,595 deaths.

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