The government is once again offering four free COVID-19 exams to citizens as part of the Biden administration’s reinstatement of the at-home testing program.
Why it’s important: Relaunching the program coincides with a slow but steady increase in COVID hospitalizations, which last month passed 20,000 for the first time since March, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC’s COVID data tracker, 2.7% of all fatalities in the U.S. for the week of September 10–16 were connected to COVID-19, a 12.5% rise from the week prior.
The broad strokes: Numerous insurance companies have ceased paying for COVID testing after the public health emergency’s expiry in May. Since June 1, the government’s program has not been accessible.
According to the Biden administration, its collaboration with USPS had already offered more than 755 million at-home exams.
USPS COVID test kits: What to order
What’s going on: The COVID test program has been restarted, and the Biden administration has invested $600 million in 12 domestic COVID-19 test manufacturers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Households may order four free tests starting on Monday, September 25, at COVIDTests.gov, which links users to a U.S. Postal Service website.
The tests are free to use and delivery without charge. According to USPS, shipping will start the week of October 2.
There is also a government helpline, 1-800-232-0233 or TTY 1-888-720-7489, for people who are unable to buy through the internet.
The at-home COVID test program was originally introduced in January 2022, and it initially permitted four free tests per residential location, regardless of the number of people residing there.
Prior to being halted in September of last year, it was enlarged in March and May. After being relaunched in December, it closed on May 31.
Noteworthy: According to HHS, the tests that will be handed out will be able to identify the COVID-19 variations that are currently in circulation and are “intended for use through the end of 2023.”
Instructions on how to confirm extended test expiration dates will be sent with them.
The “use by” dates for some over-the-counter COVID tests have been extended by the Food & Drug Administration by several months.
The FDA website has a complete list of authorized COVID-19 tests along with their updated expiration dates.