WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Jan. 19, the new government-run site, COVIDtests.gov., officially went live, offering free at-home COVID-19 tests to all Americans. With a limit of four per order, anyone who wants one can now sign-up to have rapid tests shipped for free to their residency courtesy of the Biden Administration.
According to a fact sheet released by the Administration just days before the official website launch, “This program will ensure that Americans have at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available in the weeks and months ahead—in addition to the number of other ways they can get tested. The Administration is quickly completing a contracting process for the unprecedented purchase of one billion at-home, rapid tests to distribute as part of this program.”
In the wake of the Omicron variant surge, more testing facilities have popped up throughout the country, but long lines have deterred many people from getting tested. The at-home COVID-19 tests are meant to speed up the testing process and provide accurate results to those who need them, within 30 minutes with no lab drop-off.
Interested individuals can simply input their contact information on the site along with their address for shipping, and tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. The White House also announced it would be launching a call line in addition to the site to aid those who do not have access.
The Administration says the call line will be used to “help those unable to access the website to place orders, and work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests.”
The new site also features instructions of those looking to use the at-home tests, along with frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and testing. It states, “at-home test should be taken if a person begins to have COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell; have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19; or when a person is going to gather with a group, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.”
The CDC’s latest recommendations for quarantine and isolation can also be found on the ordering site as well as a link to more information. For those exposed to COVID-19 and who are not up-to-date with their vaccines, it is recommended that they quarantine for five days. According to cdc.gov, “The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with a person who has had COVID-19. Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days.”
After quarantine, “a person should watch for symptoms until 10 days after they last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.” Getting tested at least 5 days after contact with someone with COVID-19 is also recommended for all persons exposed regardless of vaccination status.
Those who are exposed and test negative when using the at-home tests, are recommended to test again within a few days with at least 24 hours between tests. To view a full list of current CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation, click here.
To order your at-home tests today, visit https://www.covidtests.gov/.
By Alysia Burke