Albertsons Companies has launched a new innovation to help consumers test themselves for COVID-19 at home.
The grocery chain has partnered with New York City-based genomics firm Phosphorus to begin offering at-home COVID-19 test kits in select markets, with plans to expand the offering throughout September and October.
The saliva tests typically return results in 72 hours or less from the time the lab receives the test. Albertsons piloted the test kits in the Houston, Austin, and Boise markets and saw rapid adoption from patients.
"Customers appreciate the convenience and innovation of taking the test from their own home,” said Dan Salemi, GVP Albertsons Cos. Pharmacy. “The saliva test is easy to use and comfortable. Patients are never more than a phone call away from our pharmacy’s guidance and care. And the at-home model can help ease the burden on a stressed health care system.”
Albertsons expects to have rolled out the offering by October to all the market areas it serves. The test has received Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for the detection of COVID-19.
From their home, patients complete a short online questionnaire at scheduletest.com that is reviewed by a local Albertsons pharmacist. The patient is then contacted by the pharmacy to schedule a pickup or delivery. The patient completes the saliva sample collection and sends it to the lab via the kit’s prepaid next-day shipping envelope. The results are delivered by email or text, typically within 72 hours or less from the time the lab receives the test. After the patient learns of the results, an Albertsons pharmacist is available for questions regarding follow-up care.
Phosphorus has a laboratory in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Phosphorus laboratory is CLIA and CAP certified and licensed for testing in all 50 states. It has re-oriented its operations to focus on COVID-19 testing in order to bring its sensitive testing methodologies and extensive experience in genomics to this public health crisis.
In July, Kroger debuted an at-home testing partnership with Gravity Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory in Covington, Kentucky.
Albertsons operates 2,252 retail stores with 1,726 pharmacies, 402 associated fuel centers, 23 dedicated distribution centers and 20 manufacturing facilities. The company’s stores predominantly operate under the banners Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Haggen. Albertsons is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.