Walmart plows ahead with COVID-19 testing, and possibly antibody testing soon

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Walmart (WMT) continues to plow ahead with turning its store parking lots into vital COVID-19 testing facilities.

“We have got about 180 sites that are doing coronavirus testing today,” Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade on Friday. “We just launched a site last week where we can do coronavirus testing at the drive-thru at a neighborhood market pharmacy in a safe way. We would like to do antibody testing now, when we think the process is right.”

Currently, Walmart, Target, CVS Health and other retailers doing COVID-19 testing at their stores use the traditional nasal swab approach. That is likely to further evolve in the months ahead as antibody testing becomes more reliable and readily available.

Since Walmart announced COVID-19 testing on March 13, it reached a goal of opening 100 sites by the end of May early, on May 15. The company is clearly ahead of plan with opening the testing facilities, but still has a way to go to bring it to a wider swath of customers — the company operates more than 4,700 stores in the U.S.

Walmart employees conduct COVID-19 testing for pre-registered individuals in the parking lot of the Ramsey Street Walmart in Fayetteville, N.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. The tests will be processed by eTrueNorth, and are self-administered by the person seeking the test in their car with their window up. (Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP)

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced three more Walmart stores would do COVID-testing drive-thru testing. Hogan also added nine new CVS locations to the testing list and two Rite Aid’s.

“As Maryland continues to dramatically expand testing availability and broaden the criteria for COVID-19 testing statewide, we are excited to be forging new partnerships with private sector companies like Walmart,” said Hogan in a statement. “With the addition of test sites at some of our Walmart stores, we are continuing to make significant progress on our long-term testing strategy for the state.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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