Feds allow pharmacists to order, administer COVID-19 coronavirus tests

The federal government is allowing licensed pharmacists across the country to order and administer COVID-19 tests.

Now the big decision comes for pharmacies big and small -- whether or not to participate.

“This is a big changer. Obviously testing is a big priority so we can understand the scope of this public health crisis,” said Steven Anderson, CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS represents 155,000 pharmacists who work in 40,000 pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Costco. 3,800 of those pharmacies are in Texas and Anderson believes many will answer the call to action.

“Texas can be a rural state when you get out of a couple of cities and often times pharmacists are the only medical professional in their local community. This could have a huge impact moving forward,” Anderson said.

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Walgreens has already said it will offer the drive-thru testing at 15 sites across 7 states.

Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas will be one of those, but the locations have not yet been made public.

The state's top doctor spoke about it on GoodDay Thursday morning.

“Keep in mind as time goes on, day after day, week after week, we do increase the testing capacity in Texas and we can see it in the numbers of tests that are being performed,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Kathleen Jaeger, chief pharmacist for NACDS, says there's a wide-range of covid-19 tests coming to the marketplace and interested pharmacists will need to figure out their plan of attack.

“They already have the training expertise. What's going to happen here is that they're going to need the training as to the precise device they're going to be using,” Jaeger said.

Jaeger said she's already hearing from a lot of pharmacists across the country who want to volunteer. She calls the option to test patients "a wonderful thing."

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases