Delaware expands COVID-19 testing, partners with Walgreens
The Delaware Division of Public Health announced an update to its coordinated statewide testing plan July 15. It aims to address key considerations such as access, equity and cost.
The updated plan includes 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.
DPH Director Karyl Rattay said testing is an important mitigation tool in battling the pandemic.“One of the cornerstones of this update is to provide consistent, stable testing availability to residents regardless of symptoms or insurance,” Rattay said. “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."
Delaware’s updated COVID-19 testing plan balances the need for:
- Predictability: providing members of the community with easy access and consistent messages about where to get tested to help with early detection;
- Flexibility: the ability to be responsive to outbreaks and urgent needs; and
- Sustainability: using resources wisely given the projected duration of this pandemic.
From the health care systems to primary care practices and Federally Qualified Health Centers, a range of partner organizations play a key role in the state’s COVID-19 testing strategy. Some testing services provide testing to individuals who are symptomatic or asymptomatic on a routine basis; others provide dedicated testing resources in response to community-based outbreaks.
The Delaware testing strategy continues to evolve to one where all Delawareans have convenient access to testing when and where they need it. This 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.
The Division of Public Health announced a partnership with Walgreens to provide COVID-19 testing to residents, with a pilot site in each county starting Thursday, July 16.
- New Castle County – Walgreens, 700 S. Ridge Ave., Middletown, DE 19709
- Kent County – Walgreens, 1215 S. State St., Dover, DE 19901
- Sussex County – Walgreens, 9202 Commercial Centre Drive, Bridgeville, DE 19933
Drive-thru pharmacy testing 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, but wait times may vary depending on volume of traffic at a site.
Walk-up testing will also be available onsite at the drive-thru part of the building. Customers should not come into the pharmacy for COVID-19 testing. The tests will be self-administered nasal swabs, where the patient swabs the inside front of their nose. The specimen samples will be processed through the Delaware Public Health Laboratory.
James Satterfield, Walgreens regional healthcare director, commented on the new program. “The opening of these new COVID-19 testing sites are part of Walgreens’ ongoing commitment to provide greater access to testing in the communities we serve,” Satterfield said. “Walgreens has a long history of stepping up to support our customers and communities in times of need, and we’re pleased to be working in collaboration with the state of Delaware on this effort.”
DPH will work with Walgreens over the coming weeks to add more pharmacies to the list of testing sites, and is in discussion with other pharmacy chains. DPH is working with a company to automate registration and reporting of results from these tests.
Additional information about COVID-19 testing, including a map and calendar of all of the available testing sites throughout the state, is at de.gov/gettested. The webpage was updated Tuesday to make testing information easier to locate and navigate.
The most recent statewide statistics are at de.gov/healthycommunity.