Coronavirus

Kroger Enters COVID-19 Testing Market As Demand Surges

Kroger Enters COVID-19 Testing Market

Supermarket giant Kroger is taking a big leap into the COVID-19 testing business amid a surge in demand as companies scramble to safely reopen amid the pandemic.

Kroger on Thursday (Aug. 13) unveiled a new initiative called COVIDCare Plus, which combines a home testing kit with a telehealth consultation as part of a larger package of health-related services for companies.

During the telehealth sessions, healthcare professionals will direct workers on how to swab their noses to collect a specimen for testing. To test the samples, Kroger Health said it has teamed up with CLIA-certified laboratory Gravity Diagnostics, with results provided within 24-48 hours.

In the announcement of its new testing initiative, Kroger noted that it already has experience in the field via a series of COVID-19 drive-through testing sites it operates, where its “multidisciplinary team has collectively administered 150,000 tests.”

Kroger said it will also offer companies and their employees access to some key clinical services, including vaccinations, telehealth and telenutrition sessions with experts to help promote better eating habits.

The push into COVID-19 testing by the supermarket giant comes amid a testing backlog in states and cities across the country, with results often taking days or even longer to come back, delays that healthcare experts warn can undermine their effectiveness.

"We know testing continues to be a critical pillar in the fight against COVID-19," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, in a press release. "And yet, our country faces ongoing challenges to keep pace with demand. At Kroger Health, we are grateful to be part of the solution by providing employers with COVID-19 testing that has a short turnaround time."

CVS is also pushing a competing testing and health consultation service for both companies and universities, having launched its Return Ready program in June.

“Organizations can rely on our customizable return to worksite and campus solution, which will evolve and adapt to include the latest COVID-19 testing technology and clinical protocols to meet their specific population health management needs," said Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer and executive vice president of CVS Health, in a press release.

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