FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is partnering with Kroger to perform more drive-through coronavirus testing.
The sites will be in Madisonville, Paducah, Somerset, and Pikeville.
“Our goal here, given how we’ve been pushing out other tests, is to make sure we have a testing presence all over the state,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.
As of Thursday night, the Kentucky Department of Public Health reports testing just shy 29,747 people for the coronavirus, a number Beshear said needs to increase significantly as his office starts developing plans to come back from the pandemic.
“We know that we have to have more testing in Kentucky, both right now as we are dealing with our surge, but also as we eventually want to step out of this,” Beshear said. “It’s going to take significant amounts of testing and then contact tracing.”
Madisonville is in Hopkins County, which has one of the largest infection rates in the state of 2.07 cases per 1,000 people. By comparison, Jefferson County has a rate of .77 cases per 1,000 people and Fayette County has a rate of .64 cases per 1,000 people.
“My parents are from Hopkins County. My grandparents are buried in Hopkins County,” Beshear said. “That area has been hit really hard and I wanted to make sure one of the very first sites we got was in Madisonville and in Hopkins County.”
To receive a test, you have to fit into one of three priority groups. Generally speaking, you either have to have symptoms or work as a first responder or at a hospital to qualify.
Kroger National Health and Wellness Director Megan Brown said the tests will be a self-administered nasal swab.
“Kroger has determined that this testing methodology is beneficial as it increases the number of tests that can be performed, as well as conserving the amount of personal protective equipment that is utilized,” Brown said.
Kroger will start performing tests at the sites next week, Tuesday through Thursday. Brown said results typically come back in 48 hours.
Anyone wanting tests needs to go to a special Kroger website for a pre-screening.
Kroger is already operating drive-through testing sites in Kenton and Franklin counties.