Federal COVID testing website to launch next week, 4 tests per household

Federal websites where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday as the White House eases nationwide shortages, but supplies will be limited to just four free tests per household.

The White House announced on Friday that, starting January 19, the website COVIDTests.gov will provide tests at no cost, including no shipping charges.

President Joe Biden speaks about the government’s COVID-19 response Thursday, January 13, 2022, at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As he faced criticism for low inventory and long lines for testing, President Joe Biden announced last month that the US would buy 500 million home tests to launch the program, and on Thursday the president announced he would buy 1 billion. Doubling the order of tests. ,

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But Americans shouldn’t expect a rapid turnaround on orders and will have to plan ahead and request tests before they can meet federal guidelines for using the test.

A sign was posted in front of this CVS pharmacy in the Capitol of Jackson, Miss., Monday, January 3, 2022.  It was widely reported that at-home COVID-19 tests were in short supply across the state.

A sign was posted in front of this CVS pharmacy in the Capitol of Jackson, Miss., Monday, January 3, 2022. It was widely reported that at-home COVID-19 tests were in short supply across the state.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The White House said tests will typically ship “within 7-12 days after ordering” via the US Postal Service, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its First Class package service in the continental United States. does.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be tested at home five days after potential COVID-19 exposure, or as part of the test, when experiencing COVID-19 systems including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms and muscle aches recommends. Maintain protocol in schools and workplaces.

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“Definitely if you’re going to be gathering with family, if you’re going to a gathering where people are immunocompromised or where they’re elderly or where you have people who are unvaccinated or poorly protected against a vaccine.” Maybe that’s an opportunity you might want to get tested,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said on Wednesday.

A woman wearing a winter coat is tested at a mobile testing site in New York, Tuesday, January 11, 2022.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A woman wearing a winter coat is tested at a mobile testing site in New York, Tuesday, January 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Officials stressed that the federal website is just one way for people to get a COVID-19 test. Starting Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover the cost of rapid testing at home, allowing Americans to be reimbursed for tests purchased at pharmacies and online retailers. This includes eight tests per month.

The White House said the four-test limit on website orders would apply to each residential address and the first tranche of 500 million tests. It estimates the cost of purchasing and delivering the first block of tests to be $4 billion.

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

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