HOUSTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization for the Kroger brand’s COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit, the grocery chain announced Wednesday.
Here’s how Kroger Health’s COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit works, as described by the company:
- 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 health care professional will contact him or her via phone to provide a recommended course of care.
- Test results will only be accessible 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.
A news release said that the at-home kit will be available to “front line associates across Kroger’s Family of Companies, based on medical need,” beginning this week. The company did not elaborate on the term “based on medical need.”
The Kroger Health COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit will initially be available in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. Kroger noted that additional states will be added in the coming weeks.
To process the tests, Kroger said it is partnering with Gravity Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory located in Covington, KY, in an effort to expand the availability of the home collection kits to other companies and organizations in the coming weeks, with a goal of processing up to 60,000 tests per week by the end of July.
“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.”