Kroger is expanding COVID-19 testing at more than 220 clinic locations by appointment for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
The retailer recently was cleared for at-home test kits for associates, and the expansion comes on the heels of the launch of the company's employer-focused COVIDCare Plus testing program, and just in time for the start of the upcoming flu season, during which many health officials anticipate an increased need for COVID-19 testing.
The clinic testing will mirror the self-administered collection process currently used at Kroger Health's community testing locations. The expansion will enable the company's multidisciplinary team of licensed health care professionals to increase access to testing and convenient care services. Kroger Health's in-store clinics are able to test up to 5,000 patients per day.
“We are proud of our drive-thru testing program that provided a quick, interim testing solution, and now we are focused on building testing capability that serves more Americans on an ongoing basis,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. “These longer-term COVID-19 testing solutions include leveraging our clinic locations and our FDA-authorized COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit so we can reach more people.”
Patients can access Kroger Health's free screening tool to determine if testing is appropriate for them and schedule an appointment at krogerhealth.com/clinictesting. Once a patient schedules an appointment, a licensed practitioner will contact them via telehealth or by phone. Clinic locations will offer designated parking for patients, and most COVID-19 sample collections can be self-administered under the observation of a Kroger Health professional while patients remain in their vehicles. The company has also instituted additional measures at Kroger Health clinics to safeguard the health and well-being of associates, patients and customers, including enhanced air filtration systems.
Since April, Kroger Health has facilitated more than 150,000 COVID-19 tests across 19 states at drive-thru and walk-up testing locations. As the nation prepares to enter flu season, testing will become even more critical to help diagnose COVID-19 amid potentially similar symptoms.
"COVID-19 and the flu share many of the same symptoms, which could cause added confusion and concern for Americans of all ages," said Marc R. Watkins, M.D., Kroger Health's chief medical officer. "Kroger Health is ramping up our comprehensive testing efforts to provide our communities with the resources they need stay healthy and flatten the curve."
Kroger Health clinics, currently called The Little Clinic, are available in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.
A version of this article first appeared at Progressive Grocer.