Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by SPN Editor
New York City/September 26, 2023 (SPN) | Residents of the US will once again have the opportunity to request complimentary COVID-19 tests through the mail, as the Biden administration recently announced the revival of its at-home COVID testing initiative in anticipation of a potential winter surge.
Starting this Monday, individuals interested in obtaining these tests can visit a government website to order up to four COVID tests, all at no cost, for direct delivery to their homes. These tests are intended to remain usable until the end of 2023.
The United States Postal Service will handle the delivery of these tests, with shipments set to commence during the week of October 2, as per the Postal Service’s announcement.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), these tests are designed to detect the prevailing COVID-19 variants.
While some of the tests may display “expired” dates on the packaging, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended certain expiration dates, and you can find additional information on the FDA’s website. The HHS has assured that the test kits will come with instructions on how to verify these extended expiration dates.
The duration of the availability of these tests remains uncertain. Dawn O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, mentioned to The Associated Press that the website will continue to accept orders through the holiday season, and they may even keep it open longer if there is an uptick in cases.
This initiative represents the fifth round of free COVID-19 tests distributed to households nationwide, with over 755 million tests distributed since the program’s inception.
The program was temporarily halted at the end of May to conserve the existing supply, but Health Secretary Xavier Becerra has indicated that the stockpile has now been replenished.
Additionally, the White House has committed to investing $600 million to acquire 200 million new tests from 12 domestic test manufacturers.
The relaunch of this program coincides with a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since July, although infection rates still remain significantly below levels seen during the peak of the pandemic.
Every household in the United States has the option to request four free COVID-19 rapid tests, which will be conveniently delivered directly to their homes.
Here are some key details about these tests:
- They are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR.
- They can be self-administered at home or at other locations, providing results within 30 minutes without the need for lab drop-off.
- They can be used to test for COVID-19 whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.
- They can also be used to check your COVID-19 vaccination status.
- They are often referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests.
You should consider taking an at-home test:
- If you start to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell.
- If at least 5 days have passed since you had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.