Expanding its coronavirus diagnostic services, Hy-Vee next week plans to start offering COVID-19 rapid antibody testing at more than 250 pharmacy locations.
The Midwestern grocer said Thursday that the rapid antibody tests will become available across its eight-state market area on Jan. 18. Patients will get results on the same day of the test, in as soon as 15 minutes.
Indicated for those not currently experiencing coronavirus symptoms, rapid antibody testing indicates if a person has been infected with COVID-19 in the past and has developed antibodies to the virus.
The rapid antibody test, administered by a fingerstick, doesn’t show if a person has a current COVID-19 infection, since it can take one to three weeks after infection for the production of antibodies, Hy-Vee noted.
Coronavirus antibody testing is available by appointment only. To get a test, patients must register online at hy-vee.com/covidtesting and choose “antibody test” to schedule a test time and location and receive a test voucher. The tests are administered inside a Hy-Vee Pharmacy by one of its trained pharmacy staffers. After testing is completed, results will be emailed to the patient that same day.
Children ages 6 years and older can receive a rapid antibody test when registered and accompanied by a parent or guardian, Hy-Vee said, adding that all patients must wear a face mask during the testing process. The test costs $25, and Hy-Vee said it will accept any form of payment, including health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible spending accounts (FSA). Patients pay for their test when they arrive at the designated pharmacy.
Rapid antibody testing dates and times vary by location, with some pharmacies beginning on Jan. 25 or Feb. 1. Hy-Vee said the tests will be offered at 17 pharmacies in Illinois, 125 in Iowa, 11 in Kansas, 33 in Minnesota, 26 in Missouri, 25 in Nebraska, 11 in South Dakota and three in Wisconsin.
Hy-Vee has steadily built up its coronavirus testing capabilities launching molecular PCR COVID-19 tests on a limited basis at nearly a dozen pharmacies in August. The free drive-up testing — for those seeking to find out if they’re currently infected with the virus — is now offered outside at more than 180 Hy-Vee pharmacies in tandem with diagnostic lab services provider eTrueNorth. Results are typically available in three to five business days. Patients are given a self-administered nasal swab test kit from a Hy-Vee pharmacy employee, who explains how to perform the test and supervises the process.
Last month, Hy-Vee also began rapid antigen testing for coronavirus via an outside, drive-thru testing process at 47 pharmacy locations. Performed via nasal swab, the tests deliver results on the same day, in as soon as one or two hours. Hy-Vee has since expanded the rapid antigen tests to 59 pharmacies. Patients can register for a rapid antigen or molecular PCR test at hy-vee.com/covidtesting to make an appointment.
And in late December, Hy-Vee kicked off COVID-19 vaccinations, beginning with frontline health care personnel. Earlier in the month, the retailer announced plans to hire 1,000 pharmacy technicians across its market area to support expanded coronavirus testing and preparations for the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
Overall, Hy-Vee operates more than 275 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.