RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Rapid COVID-19 testing is becoming more accessible for folks in central Virginia.

Rapid testing, the tool some call one of the most critical in fighting COVID-19, hasn’t been widely accessible or affordable for some in our area. Virginians have been calling for it since the pandemic began.

CVS pharmacy announced four testing sites that they say will give you results within 30 minutes. There’s one in Glen Allen, one in Chester, and two in Richmond.

  • 11271 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen
  • 221 East Hundred Road
  • Chester 5001 West Broad St, Richmond
  • 3001 Lauderdale Drive, Richmond

“To decrease the spread across the community, we have to have the rapid testing,” said Justin Clouse, the CVS Richmond District Leader.

Unlike other rapid testing sites in the Richmond area, CVS Pharmacy says these tests are completely free if you have insurance or are on a federal program for the uninsured. If you go to other sites like BetterMed and MedExpress, you’ll be charged a co-pay. On Wednesday, Kroger announced their pharmacies will conduct rapid tests for $25.

“No copay, no cost, no upfront cost, no back end cost,” Clouse said.

Rapid COVID-19 testing is not much different than a regular test. Clouse said it’s the same nasal-swab procedure, but this time you get your results in minutes. “Rapid testing is definitely the preferred route of testing,” he said.

You register online like you would for a regular COVID test, and Clouse said you should be able to find an appointment within two days in the Richmond area. However, he said CVS hopes to decrease the waiting times as they monitor demand and COVID-19 trends.

“We continue to move very quickly and will add additional sites based off of positive testing in specific areas, or increase demand in specific areas, to continue to meet the demand of the community,” the district leader said.

Also on Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam announced a new shipment of rapid antigen tests has arrived. Northam said 26,000 out of the 200,000 tests they’ve ordered are in the state and will be distributed to nursing homes and long term care facilities. He said more tests are expected to arrive soon.