Thursday, May 19, 2022

Free, nationwide at-home COVID-19 test delivery is now available

January 18, 2022
<p>Spartan Statue, photographed on Aug. 31, 2020.</p>

Spartan Statue, photographed on Aug. 31, 2020.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

As of Jan. 19, up to four at-home COVID-19 tests can now be ordered and shipped online completely free. 

The new plan, brought by COVIDtests.gov, an official website of the United States government, allows for the ease of remotely ordering COVID-19 tests and having them shipped to living spaces instead of the typical lab PCR tests, which are usually administered in person. Shipping can take anywhere between seven to 12 days; it will begin in late January.

This new website has pages of information regarding insurance reimbursement for up to eight at-home tests per month for each household member. There is a limit of one order per residential address that includes four individual rapid antigen at-home tests or OTC tests.

According to The White House Twitter account, to order the tests, the only two requirements needed are a name and mailing address. The tests will be delivered through the United States Postal Service.

The tests are rapid antigen at-home tests, which are not the same as PCR tests. The rapid antigen at-home tests can be taken anywhere and can show results within a 20-minute timeframe that can distinguish COVID-19 even in asymptomatic persons. 

The website recommends using the test if the person has had COVID-19 symptoms or has come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Any symptoms or prior exposure should be monitored, and those who have been exposed or tested positive should follow the up-to-date CDC guidelines.

These at-home tests will not only help slow the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant through the ability to stay quarantined during the testing period, but they will provide an opportunity for people with busy schedules to test themselves at home when scheduling a PCR test may not have been an option. 

The website also includes a link to over 20,000 free testing sites, which are available to everyone in the U.S., including the uninsured and those on Medicaid. 

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