- Hy-Vee has started offering self-administered COVID-19 tests at 11 of its in-store pharmacies throughout the Midwest, according to a press release. Each location is offering testing from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturdays, depending on the store.
- The tests are free and are administered through a pharmacy drive-thru testing process. The grocer doesn’t require people to have symptoms to be tested but does require prior online registration to get a voucher number, testing site and appointment time.
- The patient then brings in the voucher number and the pharmacy employee will provide the person with the test kit, instructions on how to self-administer and will supervise. The person will then drop off the test in the collections bin on their way out and they will receive results within three to five days via email.
Hy-Vee is one of the early adopters in the grocery industry to offer free COVID-19 testing to customers, in addition to employees. Kroger, a major player in the food as medicine movement, just last week announced it was expanding its testing to all of its clinic locations. Kroger’s testing process requires customers to be screened online before coming in. Tyler, Texas-based Brookshire Grocery Company, which operates more than 178 stores, also recently said it was providing a mobile testing unit by appointment only.
Grocers are growing their testing capabilities as they gear up for flu season. Because flu symptoms and coronavirus symptoms are similar, they expect an uptick in test requests. The offering will also alleviate some of the pressure put on testing centers that sometimes have hours-long lines and quickly run out of tests.
Hy-Vee's move shows the retailer’s continued investment in its image as a health-conscious grocer. Other health initiatives the retailer has launched during the pandemic includes its partnership with schools to launch KidsFit Wellness Week, a virtual program designed to educate kids on nutrition, exercise and a healthy lifestyle. It has also started offering drive-up flu shots at its 270 pharmacy locations from Aug. 17 through Oct. 1. Even prior to the outbreak, the grocer operated HealthMarket stores, which combines pharmacy and nutritional services with a small grocery assortment, as well as provided free prescription delivery, blood pressure checks and nutritional consultations.