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Walgreens and Labcorp offering free at-home PCR tests for COVID-19

PCR testing is considered the gold standard in diagnosing COVID-19.
Credit: Walgreens
Pixel PCR COVID-19 at-home test

DEERFIELD, Ill — Walgreens and Labcorp announced free, nationwide availability of a COVID-19 at-home PCR test collection kit.

People who are eligible to get a free kit must meet one or more of the following requirements to qualify for a Pixel at-home collection kit at no cost: experiencing mild symptoms; exposed to someone with COVID-19; live or work in a congregate setting; and/or asked to get tested by a healthcare professional, contact investigator, or public health department.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helped provide the kits. Walgreens wrote in a press release that the addition "will enable more communities to access reliable, convenient testing services when, where, and how they need them."

“Through our continued partnership with Labcorp and HHS, communities will have better access to convenient COVID-19 PCR testing. This is particularly important for uninsured, socially vulnerable and medically underserved populations, who continue to be among those most impacted by COVID," Walgreens president John Standley said in that release.

The Labcorp COVID-19 at-home collection kit uses the same PCR test doctors and hospitals across the country rely on. PCR testing is considered the gold standard in diagnosing COVID-19, and the test detects all current variants of the virus. 

At-home collection kits are shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight® with step-by-step instructions to guide people through kit registration, sample collection, and how to return your sample. Walgreens said people should get results on average within 1 to 2 days after the lab receives the specimen. Results become available through the Labcorp OnDemand portal.

How to Get a Pixel by Labcorp® COVID-19 At-Home Collection Kit

  • Visit walgreens.com/covid19testing to request a Labcorp COVID-19 at-home kit at no cost for individuals 2 years of age and older.
    • Individuals scheduling a testing appointment using the Walgreens online scheduler will see a pop-up with the option to request a COVID-19 at-home collection kit.
  • Individuals will then be directed to Labcorp OnDemand, a health care platform that helps individuals manage their health and make more informed decisions. Once on the platform, customers will be prompted to answer eligibility questions and request a kit.
  • Completed tests can be dropped off at more than 6,000 Walgreens locations or a FedEx drop off location using the pre-paid FedEx Priority Overnight bag provided.

“Expanding our offerings with Walgreens to provide Labcorp COVID-19 at-home collection kits to Walgreens customers makes testing within reach for more individuals across the country, including those communities that might otherwise have a harder time accessing health care,” Brian Caveney, chief medical officer and president of Labcorp Diagnostics, said. “As we begin seeing regions across the country loosen COVID-19 restrictions, testing will continue to play an important role as people increase pre-pandemic routine activities.”

Walgreens offers free drive-thru testing for everyone ages 3 and older at more than 7,000 locations nationwide, with more than half of Walgreens COVID-19 testing sites located in socially vulnerable areas. 

People can also get over-the-counter at-home rapid antigen tests online and in a variety of pharmacy stores. The federal government offers free tests, as does a pilot project in Maine to expand test access.

For reimbursement of over-the-counter tests, Walgreens customers should ask their pharmacist if their plan offers coverage with no out-of-pocket cost. 

Labcorp became the first U.S. commercial laboratory to launch COVID-19 PCR testing in 2020, and less than two weeks later it became the first to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization for its test. In April 2020, Labcorp launched at-home collection kits for COVID-19 PCR testing, which are now available through its Labcorp OnDemand platform. 

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