New program would ship tests home for faster results.

With recent Covid-19 spikes across multiple states, plenty of folks are (either voluntarily or mandatorily) getting tested. That's absolutely a good thing, since it's really the only way we have to both track how the pandemic spreads, and make sure folks performing essential work can continue to do so safely. 

The problem, of course, is that more testing means a greater workload for diagnostic laboratories across the country. With wait times for test results sometimes measured in weeks rather than days (rendering the results either unreliable or impractical), Kroger now says it wants to step up to fill the void. 

In partnership with testing lab Gravity Diagnostics, Kroger says it's developed an at-home Covid testing kit that's capable of generating results within 24 to 48 hours. It's part of a broader pandemic-related health framework Kroger is calling COVIDCare plus, which will also incorporate clinical services like (eventual) vaccinations as well as telehealth solutions. From the sound of it, this will all be managed through employers, which might not be welcome news for the many millions of unemployed Americans right now. 

Per Business Insider's coverage, people won't be able to just walk into Kroger, grab a test off the shelf, and jam that nasal swab up their nostril. After logging in to some sort of portal and confirming their identity, individuals will fill out a screening questionnaire to confirm whether or not they're in need of a test. From there, Kroger ships a test kit at home (including instructions and everything they need to ship the sample) within 24 to 48 hours. A healthcare professional then walks the individual through the test via a video call. Results are then sent out via overnight shipping for processing, and delivered 24 to 48 hours later. 

It's not an instantaneous system, but it has the potential to save both time and effort if implemented correctly. There could be a greater margin for error when test administration is left to patients themselves, but the idea of creating additional testing capacity at a time like this can't hurt as long as the accuracy of these results are in line with existing tests.