(WISH) — An at-home coronavirus testing kit will be available to front-line Kroger employees in Indiana beginning this week, according to Kroger Health, the health care division of the Kroger Co. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization for the testing kits.
The COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit will allow the employees to take their own coronavirus tests at home and then overnight ship their samples to a lab for processing. The results will typically be available within 24-48 hours, according to the company.
“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 in a press release to News 8. “We know flexible, accessible testing options like home solutions that leverage telehealth technology are critical to accelerating America’s reopening and recovery.”
For now, the take-home tests will be initially available to employees in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. The company said the tests will be made available in additional states in the coming weeks.
The tests will be available to the front-line employees based on medical need. Kroger Health plans to expand the test availability to other organizations and companies in the coming weeks. The company’s goal is to process up to 60,000 tests per week by the end of July.
Detailed instructions on how Kroger Health’s COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit works are listed below:
- The home collection is performed under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. The process is simple and is available at no cost to eligible patients who meet established clinical criteria for likely COVID-19 infection or exposure.
- Patients will be provided access to a website where they will answer screening questions, input their organization’s benefit code and an individual code, like an employee ID, and complete a clinical assessment. If a patient qualifies, a healthcare professional will issue a prescription and the home collection kit is shipped to their home within 24-48 hours.
- The home collection kit includes a nasal swab, transport vial, instruction sheet, prepaid shipping label, and packing materials for return shipment of the sample to the laboratory.
- Upon receipt of the home collection kit, a healthcare professional guides the home collection process via telehealth – a two-way video chat. The direct observation helps to ensure the proper technique is used for sample collection.
- The patient will then overnight ship their sample to the laboratory for processing, which on average will take 24-48 hours.
- At the laboratory, the collection undergoes a molecular diagnostic test – a test which detects parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can be used to diagnose active infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- If test results are negative for an active infection, results are released to the patient’s electronic medical record portal. Alternatively, patients may be called if they do not consent to use of the portal. For a patient whose test result is positive, a healthcare professional will contact them via phone to provide a recommended course of care.
- Test results will be accessible only to the patient and only shared with their organization if the patient authorizes the release of his or her results. All results are reported to government health agencies as required by law.
Kroger Health began public drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in April. According to the company, more than 100,000 tests have been administered across 19 states.