Kentwood Rite Aid offers COVID-19 self testing

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kentwood Rite Aid store on Kalamazoo Avenue is among the chain’s locations offering self testing for COVID-19.

Wednesday was the first day Rite Aid offered the testing at the store located at the Kalamazoo Avenue and 60th Street intersection. Officials with the company said more than 30 people showed up for the first day of testing at the only location offering testing in West Michigan.

“We are very excited to be doing this because we want to keep our community safe,” Sathish Arcot, a pharmacist with the company, told News 8. “This is a good way of showing that we truly want to keep our community safe.”

The testing is available by appointment only after patients are pre-screened online. Staffers cannot provide tests to those who show up without registering first.

Registration closes at 1 p.m. each day for the next day’s testing schedule. Tests are set to be offered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day. The testing will be offered at least until May 25 but may continue longer if there is demand.

Patients are greeted with staffers holding signs directing them through the process. Their identities are confirmed before the testing process begins.

A Rite Aid team member places the testing supplies on a basked at the end of a table. The patient then uses a swab to obtain a testing sample by holding it in each nostril for 15 seconds.

A COVID-19 testing kit at Rite Aid.

The patient then places the swab in a vial, so it can be shipped to a lab for testing.

The entire procedure is conducted as a Rite Aid pharmacy team member watches and provides instruction.

Rite Aid officials said patients can expect results in a week or less.

“It’s very important that we contain this pandemic as quickly as we can and testing is very critical to it,” Arcot said. 

Jaden Huynh was among those tested on the first day in Kentwood. He said he decided to participate because his father recently died and the family isn’t certain whether or not he had the coronavirus.

“Just to make sure,” Huyhn told News 8. 

He said it was slightly uncomfortable to place the swab in his nostrils, but overall he was surprised at how easy it was to complete the procedure.

“Thought it was going to be a longer process,” Huyhn said.

Arcot said the site has plenty materials to conduct the testing and can conduct hundreds of tests each day if the demand is there.

“We are not even anywhere close to how much we can test,” Arcot said.

The Rite Aid testing is being offered as part of an agreement between the drugstore chain and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s currently being offered at 24 Rite-Aid locations in eight different states.

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