Rapid, at-home antigen tests for COVID-19 have been in short supply everywhere since the pandemic started. But a new development should help at least get more tests into homes around the US.
Last week, the government announced that a new website would be launching on January 19, so households could order four free COVID tests. It’s called COVIDtests.gov, and it went live a full day early.
We’ll walk you through the process of signing up below.
How to get your four free COVID-19 tests
Thankfully, signing up for your free tests is pretty straightforward. Follow along below for the step-by-step guide.
Head to COVIDtests.gov
Click on the light blue Order Free At-Home Tests button
That’ll take you to special.usps.com/testkits
You don’t need to enter any payment details, so there’s no need to go find your credit card
Enter your address details, and your email address if you want updates on shipping
Hit the Check Out Now button
That’s all you need to do. The tests will be sent out within 7-12 days, but shipments aren’t being started until late January.
The USPS ordering site hasn’t given us any issues, which is nice. The site is probably being hammered by households ordering their four free COVID tests. That’s borne out by analytics.usa.gov, which tracks visits to government websites, and shows that the COVIDtests.gov site has already hit over 640,000 visitors so far.
The government promised they would buy 500 million at-home COVID tests back in December, to distribute to households. This ordering site is the result of that effort, aiming to get at least some testing kits into the hands (and noses!) where they’re needed.
The White House also says there will be a hotline to order tests, and the administration is going to “work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests.”
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