To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and better understand the community’s positivity rate, Kirk’s Pharmacy began distributing free, home-based COVID-19 testing kits Friday at Kirk's Pharmacy in Eatonville.

The testing kits, developed and resulted by EverlyWell, will allow community members to perform their own test from the comfort of their car or home, ship the sample overnight for free with the pre-paid shipping label, and receive their results via a secure digital platform.

Staff at Kirk’s Pharmacy will provide customers with one-on-one education on how to effectively use the EverlyWell kits and how to receive results. The staff will also follow up with individuals who test positive to make sure they have the information and care they need to successfully quarantine at home until they are no longer infectious.

“We are proud to offer this new service and to help our community with another option for testing,” Kirk's Pharmacy owner Kirk Heinz said. “For 34 years, our Kirk’s Pharmacy has been working to keep the community healthy. I feel community pharmacies are in a great position and have the time to help patients understand how to complete the test and to answer questions.”

The test kit-distribution program is a partnership between Kirk’s Pharmacy, the Washington State Pharmacy Association, Pierce County Emergency Operations Center and Washington State Department of Health.

“We’re really excited about this work,” Washington State Pharmacy Association CEO Jenny Arnold said. “We hope that this model for increasing testing at community pharmacies will be rolled out in the coming months to many other areas of our state.”

Community members who have COVID-19 symptoms, who may have been exposed to COVID-19, or who are concerned they may have COVID-19 can get tested. To protect staff and others, customers are asked to use curbside pickup when picking up their test kit from Kirk’s Pharmacy. Currently EverlyWell is approved for use among people 16 years and older. Approval for use among minors, 4 years and older, is expected in the new year. Customers can call Kirk’s Pharmacy at 360-832-3121 to learn more about the testing program.

The free COVID-19 test kits will be distributed from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at Kirk’s Pharmacy in Eatonville. Test kits are available to anyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status. People do not need a referral from a healthcare provider to pick up a test kit. Visit https://www.kirkspharmacy.com/covid19 to learn more.

“We hope to continue developing low-barrier testing resources for the community, and I’m so honored to work with wonderful people and organizations in Washington to provide the best care possible to Eatonville and south Pierce County,” Heinz said.

Pharmacies interested in implementing similar COVID-19 testing programs can contact Jenny Bacci, jbacci@uw.edu, to learn more.