WASHINGTON DC (January 14) – On January 14, the White House announced that all Americans can order free at-home COVID-19 tests at COVIDtests.gov beginning January 19. Last month, the Biden administration purchased 500 million rapid antigen at-home test kits in response to a shortage due to the recent surge of infections. The United States Postal Service will send 4 free tests to valid residential addresses and will ship them in 7 to 12 days. Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz posted a tweet that said “I just ordered at home Covid tests and it was super easy.”
The website opened one day early in order to identify any glitches and already had hundreds of thousands of hits by early evening. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “we can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two.” People living in different units in the same apartment building have reported to be rejected because of duplicate addresses.
The federal government website recommends that people should take an at-home test if they have symptoms; or at least 5 days after they come in close contact with someone with COVID-19; or before they gather with people who are not full vaccinated and boosted or at risk for severe disease.
The free at-home tests can also be easily obtained by phone or at the pharmacy. The federal government plans to set up a call line to order the tests. Per a recent federal government policy, private health insurance is required to cover the cost up to 12 dollars per test and up to 8 tests a month.