The free at-home COVID-19 tests the federal government promised Americans last week are now available for order, a day ahead of the planned launch.
According to the website, COVIDtests.gov:
“Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order #4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.”
To order your COVID-19 testing kits, simply click the big blue order button on COVIDtests.gov, which will take you to a short order form on the U.S. Postal Service’s website. There are no shipping charges or fees, and no credit card information is required.
The whole process takes just a minute, and the site indicates that orders — each of which includes four individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests — “will start shipping in late January.” These tests give results within 30 minutes — you don’t need to ship them to a lab for processing.
According to questions and answers on the COVIDtests.gov site, you should use a test in any of the following situations:
- You begin having COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose or loss of taste or smell.
- At least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19.
- Before gathering with a group of people, especially if they are at risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
If you need a test now, you can still visit free testing sites across the country, or purchase a test at your local pharmacy.
If you are looking elsewhere to acquire COVID-19 tests, check out these stories:
- “How to Avoid Fake COVID-19 Test Kits”
- “A Trick to Finding COVID-19 Tests in Stock Online”
- “Insurers Cover At-Home COVID-19 Tests Starting This Week”