By Del Sloneker, SVP and COO, Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness
Since the White House announced a public-private partnership a week ago to support drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites, we have been working closely with federal, state and local officials to help our nation at this unprecedented time. Today, two federal sites located in Walmart Supercenter parking lots opened in the Chicago area to serve first responders and healthcare workers who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. At this time, these sites are not open to the general public. We are extremely grateful to every doctor, nurse, pharmacist, EMT and other health and emergency professional who is selflessly supporting the response. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) criteria will help provide critical testing for these essential workers who are on the front lines of the outbreak.
The sites are staffed by HHS and others, like our pharmacists, who raised their hands to support the testing in these locations. We have worked closely with public healthcare officials to prioritize the health and safety of our associates and those visiting our parking lots. Those volunteering will be equipped with proper protective equipment, and all patients will be required to remain in their cars at all times. As these two pilot locations begin testing, we know that they will help us better understand how we can best support and supplement state efforts moving forward.
We appreciate the support we have received from federal health officials, local law enforcement and elected officials. This has truly been a team effort, and these sites wouldn’t be possible were it not for everyone working together for a common goal in support of our communities. I couldn’t be prouder of how Walmart associates have stepped up in the last week to help secure supplies and personnel to support the sites. Our pharmacists and other health professionals stand ready to train others and administer the testing to help scale as quickly as possible in the areas that are hardest hit. We know testing is important, and we are in active conversations with state officials to see where we can add the most value. Walmart has always been ready when called, just as we are now.