Kroger is Offering Free Coronavirus Testing in its Kentucky Grocery Stores
While a debate has been brewing about when we can start to "open up" our economies again and end the near nationwide lockdown, there is one universally accepted truth: Increasing testing for the deadly COVID-19 contagion is a critical step in returning to something close to "normal."
To that end, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshar recently announced his plans to offer free COVID-19 testing throughout the state of Kentucky in partnership with national supermarket chain Kroger. The tests are now being administered in Kroger stores.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
The goal is to test up to 20,000 people statewide over the next five weeks, Beshear said. The state had tested 25,866 people through Saturday, so their goal is to nearly double their testing.
Kroger will provide the medical staff, the PPE and the signup portal. The state is contracting UPS and Gravity Diagnostics, a small medical lab based in Covington. Gravity Diagnostics is working with the state to provide a 48-hour turnaround on COVID-19 tests.
Governor Beshar made it clear in his press conference that Kroger is not charging his state for this free testing. "I don't know anywhere else in the country that people are doing that," he offered.
"They might be, but that's really incredible that they are providing the people and the PPE to do it. [Kroger] did this portal on their own dime. Now, we as a state are paying for the kits and the shipping, but we really, really appreciate that. It's going to help us scale up."
Grocery stores and supermarkets have become something of a flashpoint amidst the coronavirus outbreak and stay at home orders for nonessential workers. Shopping for groceries is, of course, an essential activity, only made more important now that so many restaurants are shut down due to the lockdown and social distancing.
However, because of their high traffic, grocery stores can also now be a hotbed for potentially contracting or spreading COVID-19. To slow the spread, many national grocer chains have launched new guidelines to protect shoppers and staffers alike from the coronavirus.
TBD if and when other states beyond Kentucky will adopt this free-testing-at-your-local-grocery-store method. But, let's hope they do, and fast.