90°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Website launches for ordering free COVID-19 home tests

Updated January 18, 2022 - 11:52 am

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Tuesday quietly launched its website for Americans to request free at-home COVID-19 tests, a day before the site was scheduled to officially go online.

The website, COVIDTests.gov, now includes a link for Americans to order four at-home tests per residential address, to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. It marks the latest step by President Joe Biden to address criticism of low inventory and long lines for testing during a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the website was in “beta testing” and operating at a “limited capacity” ahead of its official launch. The website will officially launch mid-morning Wednesday, Psaki said.

She added that the administration was anticipating a “bug or two,” but had IT experts from across the government working to get the site ready.

Biden announced last month that the U.S. would purchase 500 million at-home tests to launch the program and on Thursday the president announced that he was doubling the order to 1 billion tests.

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

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

Officials emphasized that the federal website is just one way for people to procure COVID-19 tests, and shortages of at-home test kits have shown signs of easing as more supply has hit the market.

Since Saturday, private insurance companies have been 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.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
 
1,200 catalytic converters found in Phoenix as thefts soar

An Arizona man is facing multiple theft charges after detectives found a huge stash of stolen catalytic converters packed into a storage unit in Phoenix.

 
NRA meets in Texas amid protests

Many performers and speakers pulled out of the NRA’s convention.

Girl told 911 ‘send the police now’ as Texas cops waited, official says

Friday’s briefing came after authorities spent three days providing often conflicting and incomplete information about the more than an hour that elapsed between the time Salvador Ramos entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him.

 
Gun policy debate blocked by Senate Republicans

The vote failed nearly along party lines, raising fresh doubts about the possibility of robust debate, let alone eventual compromise, on gun safety measures.

Questions arise in police delays at Texas school massacre

The motive for the massacre — the nation’s deadliest school shooting since Newtown, Connecticut, a decade ago — remained under investigation.