Grocery stores offering $140 at-home COVID-19 test

Oct 6, 2020

Stores like Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions—including ten locations throughout the Central Coast—are now selling at-home COVID-19 tests. 

People can now take a test in the comfort of their own home, by picking up a kit from their local grocery store.

“It’s a really convenient option," Albertsons pharmacist Terisa Stone said. "You don’t have to go into a clinic and stand in line to get a test.” 

Stone said the test, which uses saliva, is FDA-approved, 98 percent accurate and compares favorably to the nasal swab test. To get one, customers must first complete a short medical questionnaire from home. Then a store pharmacist will contact the patient and schedule a pick-up or home delivery test.

“The test results are typically available about 48 to 72 hours after the lab has received the patient's sample," Stone said. "As soon as they get the test results back and if it's positive, they need to contact their physician right away.”

But, the convenience doesn’t come cheap. 

“The test is $139.99," Stone said. "At this time we can't bill their insurance, but the patient will get a receipt they can submit to their insurance for reimbursement.”

Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg says he recommends the new testing method, and is looking at adding saliva testing as one of the options available from the county. Especially if it makes testing younger patients easier. 

“That is important for pediatric health care, for children," Dr. Ansorg said. "We don’t want to torture them unneccasrily."

Ansorg said he thinks saliva testing will become a more popular option in the months to come. 

"So far they have a very good track record," Dr. Ansorg said. "And that it is quite reliable.”

Health officials in SLO County said they are not exploring the option of offering free or low cost saliva tests at this time.

The following Central Coast locations are selling the kits: Albertsons, 1018 Casitas Pass Rd., CarpinteriaVons, 729 North H Street, LompocAlbertsons, 1500 North H Street, LompocVons, 1040 Coast Village Road, MontecitoAlbertsons, 1120 East Clark Avenue, OrcuttAlbertsons, 2320 South Broadway, Santa MariaVons, 1758 Grand Avenue, Grover BeachVons, 520 West Tefft Street, NipomoAlbertsons, 189 Niblick Road, Paso RoblesVons, 3900 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo