Several retailers and grocery stores have partnered up with experienced healthcare providers over the years to help increase access to care and enter the market—but now Kroger is going straight to the FDA itself.
The supermarket chain received an emergency authorization for its own home collection kit for COVID-19 testing, which includes a telehealth consultation to help guide people through taking their own sample.
Kroger’s healthcare division said the prescription kit will be initially available to the company’s front-line workers in 14 states this week, based on their medical need. The samples will be analyzed by Gravity Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory in Kentucky near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters.
By the end of this month, Kroger said it plans to begin processing up to 60,000 molecular diagnostic tests per week, after expanding its kits to other organizations. And since opening drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing sites to the public in April, the company has administered more than 100,000 tests across 19 states.
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our associates and our customers has remained our top priority," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. "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.”
The home collection kit includes a nasal swab, transport vial, instructions, prepaid overnight mailing label and packing materials for mailing to the lab. The self-swabbing process will be supervised by a two-way video chat with a healthcare professional. Results are expected to be delivered in one to two days.
"As our country experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases, physical distancing, wearing protective masks and testing remains paramount to flattening the curve," said Jim Kirby, senior director of Kroger Health. "We know flexible, accessible testing options like home solutions that leverage telehealth technology are critical to accelerating America's reopening and recovery."