- Hy-Vee will offer rapid antigen COVID-19 tests at 47 pharmacies in the eight states where the grocer operates, allowing people to find out if they have the disease in as little as one to two hours, the company announced Wednesday. The first 18 locations began testing Thursday, and the rest are expected to start testing over the next two weeks.
- The tests, which will be conducted via a drive-thru procedure, will be available only to people who display symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to it within the past 14 days.
- Hy-Vee has been stepping up its efforts to combat the pandemic and announced last week that it is expanding its pharmacy staff in anticipation of providing COVID-19 vaccines.
Hy-Vee has recently made a string of announcements that reflect a desire to position itself as a key player in slowing the coronavirus epidemic.
The company, which began offering self-administered COVID-19 tests at 11 pharmacies in August, said in October that it had started offering the tests, which provide results to people within three to five business days, at 150 of its 275 locations. Hy-Vee has since pushed the number of pharmacies where it offers COVID-19 tests to 180.
While the COVID-19 tests Hy-Vee has been administering since August take longer to be processed than the antigen tests it is now making available, they are more sensitive to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hy-Vee’s actions put it in the company of other food retailers that have sought to bolster their reputations as healthcare providers this year.
In April, Kroger began a pilot to test associates in Colorado and Michigan for the disease. The grocer expanded the program in early May and in July said it had received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to make a home COVID-19 collection kit available to its employees. Kroger said in August that it would provide COVID-19 testing to consumers at all of its more than 220 health clinics.
In October, Kroger also said that it would offer COVID-19 antibody tests, which can show whether a person has been infected with COVID-19, at all of its more than 2,200 pharmacies and its healthcare clinics by the end of November.
Walmart, which has been expanding its fledgling network of healthcare locations, also offers drive-thru COVID-19 testing. Albertsons provides COViD-19 tests to customers, as well.