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Hy-Vee began testing at the first 18 locations today, and the other 29 sites are due to start testing over the next two weeks.

Hy-Vee launches rapid antigen COVID-19 testing

Outside drive-up tests to be offered at 47 pharmacy stores

Hy-Vee is expanding its coronavirus diagnostic services with the launch of rapid antigen COVID-19 testing at 47 pharmacy locations.

The Midwestern food and drug retailer said Thursday that the rapid antigen tests, performed via nasal swab, are delivered at outdoor, drive-thru sites. Patients receive same-day test results in as soon as one or two hours after completing the test.

Hy-Vee began testing at the first 18 locations today, and the additional 29 sites are slated to start testing over the next two weeks. A couple of locations are scheduled to launch testing tomorrow, followed by most of the remaining sites on Monday.


The rapid antigen COVID-19 tests provide faster turnaround, with patients receiving results in as soon as one or two hours after completing the test. 


While both the rapid antigen and molecular PCR tests employ nasal or nasalpharyngeal swab, the latter is considered the “gold standard” in COVID-19 detection. The rapid antigen test delivers results quickly — some very quickly, within a half-hour — but false positives can occur, and negative results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Results can take up to a week for the molecular PCR test, yet it’s typically highly accurate and usually doesn’t need to be repeated, the FDA said.

On the laboratory side, the rapid antigen test detects protein fragments specific to the coronavirus, while the molecular PCR test actually detects genetic material (RNA) specific to the virus.

Hy-Vee now offers free molecular PCR COVID-19 tests outside at more than 180 pharmacy locations in coordination with eTrueNorth. Results are usually available in three to five business days, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based company said.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued clarifying guidance for rapid antigen testing, Hy-Vee noted. Based on those guidelines, the retailer is limiting eligibility for rapid antigen testing to people who are symptomatic and to those who are asymptomatic with a known or reported exposure in the last 14 days. Individuals who are asymptomatic and haven’t had a known COVID-19 exposure in the last 14 days won’t be eligible for testing at this time, Hy-Vee said.

To get a COVID test from Hy-Vee, customers must first register online to receive a test voucher number, at which time they also will be given a specific testing site and an appointment time. Ppatients provide the voucher number at the testing area, which will be located outside in designated Hy-Vee parking lot location, where patients can drive up without leaving their vehicle. Trained Hy-Vee pharmacy staff administer the nasopharyngeal swab test. Testing typically takes less than two minutes. Patients must wear a mask and will be asked to lower it beneath their nose for the test. Results are sent to the patient via email.

Cost for the test varies by location, and patients can view the testing cost for their location during registration, Hy-Vee reported. The retailer said it’s currently accepting testing payment only by credit or debit card at the test site. Payment will be processed by a Hy-Vee pharmacy employee before the test is administered.

The list of Hy-Vee pharmacy locations offering the rapid antigen test can be found below. Each location will offer testing windows between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Children 6 years or older can be tested with the rapid antigen test when registered and accompanied by a parent or guardian. All patients are required to wear a mask during the testing process. 

Rapid antigen COVID-19 tests will be offered at 19 Hy-Vee stores in Iowa, 10 in Illinois, five in Minnesota, four in Missouri, three in Kansas, three in Nebraska and two in South Dakota and one in Wisconsin. Time windows for the tests are available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Children age 6 years or older can receive the rapid antigen test when registered and accompanied by a parent or guardian, Hy-Vee said.

The grocer launched coronavirus testing on a limited basis at nearly a dozen pharmacies in August and then expanded coverage to over 150 locations in October.

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

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