Kroger is stepping up to increase COVID-19 testing in Kentucky.
Kentucky Gov. Andrew Beshear announced Sunday that the grocery chain will begin testing this week on hundreds of people in Kentucky, with the goal of eventually testing tens of thousands in that state.
Kroger will provide the medical staff, the PPE and the signup portal, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"Let me say this, Kroger is not charging the state one penny for this," Beshear said. "I don't know anywhere else in the country that people are doing that. They might be, but that's really incredible that they are providing the people and the PPE to do it. They 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."
Kentucky and Kroger will begin the free drive-thru testing at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Frankfort, Ky., on Monday, April 13, the Enquirer said. The testing will start with top priority individuals: health care workers, first responders, people 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions.
Kroger, which worked with Microsoft, will have a digital registration process at krogerhealth.com/covidtesting for people to schedule their drive-thru testing. Locations are expected to test about 250 vehicles each day. The Frankfort location will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday this week.
"We believe this process is the first in the state of Kentucky, and maybe across the nation, provides a very easy way for people to register for the test," Colleen Lindholz, the president of Kroger Health, told the Enquirer.
Lindholz said Kroger's tests are through self-administered swabs.
"We are doing this because, for one, it's less invasive for the patient. Two, it conserves personal protective equipment, which is great. Three, it allows us to test more people in the same day," Lindholz said.
Kroger has hired more than 32,700 new associates in the past few weeks, many from restaurants, hotels and foodservice distributors that were closed due to the coronavirus.
Additionally, the grocer and its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation have deployed more than $3 million to hunger-relief resources for those communities most impacted by the coronavirus.
Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.