With all the time spent working and teaching children from home these days, it can be hard to keep up with the fast-paced news coming regarding COVID-19. Here are today’s bullet points:
- Walgreens Expanding Drive-Thru Testing To 15 New Locations in Seven States
- Abbott Waives Regulations, Expands Telehealth Options
- Educational First Steps Announces Dallas/Fort Worth COVID-19 Childcare Relief Fund
Walgreens Expanding Drive-Thru Testing To 15 New Locations in Seven States
Walgreens this week announced the company is working to expand drive-thru COVID-19 testing to 15 new sites in seven states, including Texas.
The new testing sites will utilize Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test, which reportedly delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes.
The 15 locations are being finalized in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and are planned for select hot spot markets with escalating rates of COVID-19 cases. Walgreens plans to be able to test up to 3,000 people per day across these additional sites, which are expected to be activated soon.
“Walgreens remains committed to working with federal, state and local governments, as well as industry partners to meet the needs of the communities we serve across the country during the pandemic,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president. “We’re continuing to do everything we can, both with our own resources and also by partnering with others, to serve as an access point within the community for COVID-19 testing. Opening our first drive-thru testing location last month has allowed us to quickly learn and develop an efficient and scalable process, and we’re pleased to be working with Abbott to help accelerate our efforts, and to enable quick results for those being tested.”
Walgreens will dedicate temporary space at select locations, outside of the stores, where Walgreens pharmacists will oversee the self-administration of the COVID-19 test. Soon, patients will be directed to testing locations via an online assessment tool that will be available on Walgreens.com and Walgreens mobile app.
Testing will be available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients will need to register in advance in order to schedule an appointment for testing.
In other local testing news, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins shared the following letter from the Department of Health and Human Services on Twitter:
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) April 8, 2020
Abbott Waives Regulations, Expands Telehealth Options
Governor Greg Abbott April 9 temporarily waived a series of regulations to lift certain telehealth restrictions and expand telehealth options as Texas responds to COVID-19. These waivers will allow a smart phone or any audio-visual, real-time, or two-way interactive communication system to qualify as a telecommunications technology that can be used to provide certain telehealth services. These waivers apply to speech-language pathologists and audiologists, behavior analysts, hearing instrument fitters and dispensers, and dyslexia therapists and practitioners.
“As the State of Texas works to limit the spread of COVID-19, we also want to make sure that Texans have access to the health services they rely on,” said Abbott. “By temporarily waiving these regulations and expanding telehealth options, more Texans will be able to access the care they need while still following social distancing practices.”
Educational First Steps Announces Dallas/Fort Worth COVID-19 Childcare Relief Fund
As usual, we end today’s digest with some good news. Educational First Steps this week announced the launch of the COVID-19 Childcare Relief Fund, a donor-sponsored fund to provide financial support to local early childcare centers experiencing economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund was created in partnership with the Rainwater Charitable Foundation to raise money for the childcare centers as well as home-based providers across the Dallas/Fort Worth area that represent predominantly women or minority-owned businesses serving at-risk or economically disadvantaged populations.
“During this time of considerable uncertainty and difficulty, I’m finding much-needed inspiration from the amazing work being done by the courageous leaders in early childhood development,” Executive Director of Educational First Steps Vickie Lynn Allen said. “They are on the frontlines, providing essential care to those that need it most. The heroic displays exhibited by partnering center directors, teachers, and their teams are nothing short of extraordinary. Early childhood education is always at risk of being put on the back burner, but this fund aims to assure these small businesses that serve a critical need in the community make it through the COVID-19 closures so they can continue to provide high-quality early childhood education. If we don’t get the support they need now, they might not be in a position to serve children that need them most when this is over. In addition, this fund demonstrates to our partners that they are essential—and worthy of investment.”
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