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Federal Site to Order Free COVID-19 at-Home Rapid Tests Is Open

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At-home rapid COVID-19 test kits being prepared for distribution in Youngstown, Ohio. (AP File)
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The federal government opened the website to order up to four at-home COVID-19 rapid tests kits a day early.

Originally scheduled to open on Wednesday, the site went live on Tuesday morning.

Click on the site at this link to make your order.

The White House said “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class package service in the continental United States.

When to Test

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at-home testing when experiencing COVID-19 systems including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms, and muscle aches, five days after a potential COVID-19 exposure, or as part of test-to-stay protocols in schools and workplaces.

“Certainly if you’re going to gather with family, if you’re going to a gathering where people are immunocompromised, or where they’re elderly, or where you have people who might be unvaccinated or poorly protected from a vaccine that might be an opportunity you want to test,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, on Wednesday.

Officials emphasized that the federal website is just one way for people to procure COVID-19 tests. Starting on Saturday, private insurance companies will be required to cover the cost of at-home rapid tests, allowing Americans to be reimbursed for tests they purchase at pharmacies and online retailers. That covers up to eight tests per month.

The White House said the four-test limit on website orders will be applied to each residential address. It estimates the cost of purchasing and distributing for the first block of 500 million tests at $4 billion.

Officials said they are cognizant that any launch of a website carries some risks — and memories of the disastrous roll-out during the Obama administration of Healthcare.gov are still fresh — but said they believe they are well-positioned to handle expected demand for tests.

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email