Feds’ website for free at-home COVID testing launches day early

January 18, 2022 — Americans can now have free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their homes.

The Biden administration’s new free, home testing program launched today, one day ahead of schedule.

The government said 500 million tests are available to be delivered to homes across the country. This accounts for half of the president’s recent commitment to purchase 1 billion free home COVID-19 tests to distribute to the American public.

During a Jan. 14 interview with reporters, senior White House officials gave some details about the new program.

This is what we know so far.

How do I order my free tests?

Americans can visit COVIDtests.gov to order their rapid home tests. You can also order directly from the US Postal Service website. After you order, you will receive a confirmation email promising to send you tracking information as soon as your order ships.

What information do I need to order the tests?

You only need your name and home address.

There is also an option to provide your email address to receive updates on the status of your order.

What if someone needs help ordering the tests?

White House officials say there will be a toll-free line for those who need more help, including those who struggle with the Internet.

What tests will be available?

Nine home tests are available through FDA emergency use authorization. According to the FAQs section of COVIDtests.gov, “You cannot choose the brand you order as part of this program.”

How long does it take to receive the tests after I order them?

Tests are expected to ship 7 to 12 days after you order them.

But White House officials say the time frame will likely shorten as the program picks up steam.

How many can I order?

There is a limit of four tests per residential postal address.

For larger families, White House officials recommend trying other free testing options, such as visiting COVID-19 testing sites or your local health center.

Is this a one-time opportunity?

The White House won’t say, but officials did say that once you run out of four free tests, there are many other ways to access free home tests, such as COVID-19 testing sites, pharmacies and community health centers.

The free tests available through COVIDtests.gov are in addition to the estimated 375 million rapid home tests on the market this month in the US.

When should people use a rapid home test?

The CDC and experts with other public health groups agree that Americans should consider using rapid tests at home in the following situations:

If they start to have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 At least 5 days after close contact with someone who has COVID-19 If someone is inside with a group of people who are at risk of serious illness or have not been vaccinated

Are the home rapid tests accurate?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services and other federal officials have confirmed through investigations that all tests distributed through this program can detect the Omicron variant. These agencies have also confirmed that their performance is in line with the FDA emergency use authorization.

Is the website designed to handle high demand?

After the original website to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act repeatedly crashed on launch, the government says it has been preparing for the high demand for rapid home ordering tests.

The US Digital Service (USDS), an organization created after Healthcare.gov, is working with the Postal Service to plan the launch.

De Post-La Poste has expanded its workforce, similar to what is done during the holidays.

All orders in the continental United States are shipped via first class mail, with shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, US territories, and military and overseas addresses via priority mail.

This post Feds’ website for free at-home COVID testing launches day early

was original published at “https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20220118/website-free-covid-tests?src=RSS_PUBLIC”