The U.S. government is making available four free COVID-19 tests to every home in the United States.
“Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order an additional 4 free at-home tests beginning November 20. If you did not order tests this fall, you may place two orders for a total of 8 tests,” the U.S. government wrote on the COVID.gov website.
“Your order of COVID tests is completely free – you won’t even pay for shipping,” the government noted. According to ABC News, the government is offering the free COVID tests in advance of the Christmas holiday and because of anticipated possible winter spike in cases of the virus.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Government Says It Is Trying to Make COVID-19 Tests Available to ‘Underserved’ Communities
The government has a button to order the tests on the website.
“Need help placing an order for your at-home tests? Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489),” the page says.
“The U.S. government will continue to make COVID-19 tests available to uninsured individuals and underserved communities through existing outreach programs. Please contact a HRSA-funded health center or Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) location near you to learn how to access low- or no-cost COVID-19 tests provided by the federal government,” it adds.
According to ABC News, the government used to mandate that insurance companies offer eight free tests per month, but that requirement has ended.
ABC News reported that the first four tests were offered in September, and the November offering is for another four tests. Since September, “about 14.5 million households have ordered tests, for a total of 58 million tests shipped,” ABC News reported.
The Free Tests Are Designed to Be Taken at Home
The website button takes you to a page on the U.S. Postal Service’s website. “Each order includes #4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests (COVIDTests.gov has more details about at-home tests, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates),” that page says.
“If an order has not been placed for your address since the program reopened on September 25, 2023, you can place# 2 orders now. Orders will ship free starting the week of November 27, 2023,” the page notes.
The page contains a simple form for your name and address and confirms they are free if you click the check out button.
The four tests are “individual rapid antigen Covid-19 tests,” according to CNN.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, “Testing can be helpful even when you don’t have symptoms or a recent exposure to COVID-19, such as before an event or visiting someone at higher risk. Test as close to the time of the event as possible (at least within 1-2 days) to help you make informed decisions about your health and your risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.”
You can also order the four free tests through the CDC’s website.
The CDC recommends, “Any positive COVID-19 test means the virus was detected and you have or recently had an infection. Isolate and take precautions, including wearing a high-quality mask or respirator, to protect others around you from getting infected. Tell people you had recent contact with that they may have been exposed.”
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