HealthDay News — It was supposed to debut on Wednesday, but the federal government has quietly launched its website allowing Americans to order free at-home COVID-19 tests a day early.
Individuals can quickly order four tests at COVIDTests.gov and have them delivered to their home by the US Postal Service. Only four tests will be administered at a single residential address and there is a note on the website that the tests will not be sent out until the end of January at the earliest. “Orders are usually dispatched within 7 to 12 days,” the website says.
According to the Associated Press, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the early launch was due to “beta testing” and is still operating at “limited capacity” ahead of the site’s official debut on Wednesday. She added that “an error or two” might occur, but a team of IT professionals is working to ensure the launch goes smoothly.
The new online distribution location is President Joe Biden’s attempt to address widespread test kit shortages and long lines at testing sites as the rapidly spreading Omicron variant continues to push COVID-19 numbers higher . Biden initially said he was ordering 500 million tests for free distribution, but then doubled that number to 1 billion last week.
The late January delivery date set by COVIDTests.gov could come as supply concerns begin to ease at pharmacies and elsewhere across the country. So federal officials are emphasizing that the site is just an option for Americans looking for at-home testing.
Starting Saturday, new rules will require private insurers to pay for up to eight rapid at-home COVID-19 tests per month and reimburse participants for tests purchased online or in pharmacies.
Associated press article
COVID19 general medicine