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Albertsons to offer free at-home COVID-19 tests to Idahoans

There is no criteria to request a test such as experiencing symptoms or coming into contact with someone who is sick.

BOISE, Idaho — UPDATED Dec. 8, 2020: Albertsons says there are no more free, at-home COVID-19 tests available to the public.

Nikki Price, Albertsons Director of Pharmacy Operations Intermountain Division, says grant money from the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy has been used and there is no more state funds available at this time.

Anyone who wants a test can still purchase on one at the their local Albertsons pharmacy at a cost of $140.

Update: Many viewers called and wrote to KTVB explaining when they tried to request a free, at-home COVID-19 test online, the website shows that the test costs $140 or it would be several months before a test is available.

Nikki Price, Albertsons Director of Pharmacy Operations Intermountain Division, says it is possible there was a computer glitch as more than 1,000 Idahoans requested a test after this story first aired.

However, Price says there is no waiting list for a test and they are completely free.

If someone runs into problems with the website, give an Albertsons or Safeway pharmacist a call.

"Certainly if anyone is having trouble with the website they can call anyone of their stores and we are happy to walk them through it," Price said. Worst case scenario, we can type it in ourselves. With the overwhelming response we still have plenty of product and we can order more. So, the good news is we have no concerns in regard to inventory in this point in time."

Original Story Below

There are now more options for Idahoans to get a COVID-19 test, regardless if you are showing symptoms or not.

Pharmacies at Albertsons and Safeway are offering free at-home test kits for anyone who wants one.

"This is an extremely huge opportunity to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Nikki Price, Albertsons Director of Pharmacy Operations Intermountain Division. "Especially in some of our rural areas in Idaho, there is maybe not an option to get tested very easily. This is an opportunity to for those individuals to do so.

Those wanting a test will first have to request one online and will then have the option of picking it up in store or having it shipped.

"Our COVID-19 tests are at-home saliva-based test, so, you are going to spit into a test tube," said Price. "It is a PCR test, so very similar to the nasal swabs you might get at an ER, primary care or one of the testing sites. It has very similar accuracy rates as does the nasal swab test, so over 98% accurate for both positive and negative tests."

Each test comes with a prepaid shipping label that will be sent to a lab.

Results are then delivered by text or email and are ready within 48 to 72 hours.

Price says Albertsons can offer these tests for free thanks to a $357,000 grant, that has the potential to be doubled, from the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy.

"So, really if you are exposed, we want to make sure you have access to a test so that we are not continuing the spread of COVID-19," Price said.

Price added that she does not anticipate pharmacies running out as they plenty of supply.

Gretchen Parsons is an anchor, reporter and producer at KTVB since 2016. You can follow her on Instagram @gretchenparsonsKTVB or  @gretchenKTVB on Twitter.

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