Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. said Thursday that FDA-authorized rapid COVID antibody testing is now available at its 67 Pick ’n Save and Metro Market pharmacy locations across Wisconsin.
“The FDA-authorized rapid antibody tests conducted using a finger-prick blood sample will help inform patients if they have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” Roundy’s said in a statement.
Roundy’s is a subsidiary of Kroger and operates 106 stores in Wisconsin. One of the world’s largest retailers, Kroger is rolling out or has rolled out the rapid testing offerings to its more than 2,200 pharmacies across the U.S.
The Pick ’n Save and Metro Market sites join a number of COVID testing options and locations for people in the Milwaukee metro area.
“The tests, which are supplied by Whitmire Medical, are available at Pick ’n Save and Metro Market pharmacy locations for $25 and typically provide results within 15 minutes,” according to the statement. “Individuals who believe they may have previously been infected with COVID-19 and are not currently experiencing symptoms are eligible for the test.”
The rapid test “should not be used to diagnose an active infection, as the test only detects antibodies developed in response to the virus, not the virus itself,” according to the statement.
Registration for the rapid antibody test is available at www.picknsave.com/antibody.
Antibody testing determines whether you had COVID-19 in the past and now have antibodies against the virus, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The antibody tests, and another type of test known as an antigen test, fall under the category of rapid testing.
University of Wisconsin system schools began a program to administer rapid tests in early November.
Overall, rapid tests are less reliable than the other commonly used COVID-19 test. The latter — called a PCR test, which detects the genetic presence of the virus — takes several days to return from a lab. The rapid tests allow for quick results that can be confirmed through other tests if necessary.
The rapid tests are being studied as a tool to help bring the massive outbreak in Wisconsin under control.
The state Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported a record of nearly 8,000 new cases as the number of intensive care unit beds available in the state dropped to dangerously low levels.
“Research is still underway to determine how long antibodies are present following infection and if the presence of antibodies provides protective immunity,” according to the Roundy’s statement. “Regardless of the testing result, all patients should continue to practice FDA-recommended safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.”
The test was first authorized by the FDA for emergency use in July and further authorized for broader point-of-care use in September, Roundy’s said.