Evolving Protocols for an Endemic Stage of COVID-19

Two smiling colleagues with disposable coffee cups walk together.

James Margiotta, Senior Vice President, CVS Health

Since the first cases of COVID-19 emerged, we have seen nearly all our traditional health care delivery models change. New protocols and approaches that would have previously been considered impossible have now become routine, as all of us have adapted to this rapidly changing environment.

CVS Health has been a leader in pandemic response during this moment of transition. In 2021 alone, our 100,000 health care professionals administered more than 59 million COVID-19 vaccinations and more than 32 million COVID-19 tests. Our Return Ready offering is a trusted resource for organizations as they navigate this unique moment in history and health care, enabling people to gather together safely as regulations change and new COVID-19 variants continue to emerge.

Throughout the pandemic and looking ahead to an endemic stage, CVS health continues to evolve our Return Ready programs and protocols to fall in line with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and clinical guidance. We remain agile and innovative in our approach to ensure alignment with the latest guidelines and keep people healthy during this unprecedented time.

Customized testing sites

At the beginning of the pandemic, CVS Health quickly recognized the need for safe testing sites for organizations and universities. When crafting health and safety on-site protocols, we adopted new transmission and sterilization guidelines as they shifted over time. From building outdoor testing sites to assessing the exchange and filtration of indoor testing locations, our Return Ready team adopted and invented new approaches to ensure that our patients and colleagues had a safe and comfortable experience. 

On-site vaccination

As vaccines were introduced, our Return Ready team adapted its offerings once again to launch on-site vaccination clinics for organizations. The offering aimed to make vaccines more convenient to access and enhance public education efforts to help slow the spread of the virus. Through this turnkey approach, our team worked with organizations to stand up on-site vaccination clinics with trained health care professionals, who were also available to answer patient questions about the vaccine and direct them to appropriate resources. 

Evolving testing protocols

The testing needs and capabilities of today are not the same as when COVID-19 first began. We now have access to vaccinations and a wide spectrum of tests, with different use cases and implications for protocols. For example, individuals who had COVID-19 within the last 90 days may receive false positives on highly sensitive rapid PCR tests, even though they no longer have an active viral load. For rapid PCR testing events, Return Ready now provides alternative testing options to participants who recently had COVID-19 infections, such as rapid antigen tests. This is just one factor clients might consider with their Return Ready team as they assess what the best testing solutions might be for their organizations.

The future of health care requires us to embrace novel approaches and push boundaries to help people get the care they need – no matter who or where they are. Our Return Ready team has made significant progress to date and will continue to innovate and adapt our offerings to support organizations as we gather at offices, schools and events.