- Kroger announced Wednesday it has received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a home COVID-19 collection kit. The kit will be available to its employees this week and expand to other companies and organizations. By the end of the month, Kroger Health and laboratory partner Gravity Diagnostics plan to process up to 60,000 tests per week.
- Individuals who want to request the collection kit must undergo an online assessment and get a prescription. Once they receive their kit, they must perform the test under telehealth guidance from a healthcare professional and then send the completed kit in for laboratory processing via overnight delivery. Testing access and results can be provided through companies’ employee management portals and, according to Kroger, most results can be provided within 72 hours of testing.
- Kroger’s home kits will initially be available in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia, with additional states coming online in the coming weeks. Kroger Health is the healthcare arm of Kroger, which oversees the company's pharmacies, clinics and telehealth operations.
Retailers like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS have offered drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites for weeks in an effort to expand testing and solidify their companies as frontline health providers. But Kroger, which has offered testing for associates and consumers since April and has so far administered more than 100,000 tests, appears to be the first retailer to develop an at-home kit.
“Over the past few months, Kroger Health has been providing Americans with access to COVID-19 testing through community test sites across the country; however, we’ve observed some individuals do not have access to transportation or live near these community testing locations,” Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, said in a statement.
FDA issued its first emergency use authorization for a home collection kit to LabCorp in late April. Since then, it’s OK'd kits to other testing companies like Quest Diagnostics and direct-to-consumer retailer LetsGetChecked, which recently made a $129 home test available through its website and provides end-to-end service, from physician approval to test processing.
Like Kroger, these companies are currently prioritizing tests for individuals who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms.
Expanding COVID-19 testing is seen by health experts as key to gauging the severity of the virus globally and to reopening as well as managing businesses. Expanded testing has helped sports leagues restart, while Amazon is building its own diagnostic labs at its fulfillment centers and plans to regularly test its workers.