Nearly three weeks after Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the United States. During a Dec. 15 press briefing, White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha told reporters “we’re seeing cases increase in about 90% of the country.”
In December 2021, the federal government purchased more than 500 million rapid COVID-19 tests to help Americans combat the spread of the virus during the omicron surge. For nearly a year, people were able to order the tests online and they were mailed to their homes for free. But that program was suspended on Sept. 2, 2022.
Recent online searches show many people are wondering if these free at-home COVID-19 tests will be available again this winter.
Can you order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government this winter?
Yes, you can order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government this winter.
WHAT WE FOUND
On Dec. 15, the Biden administration announced its Winter Preparedness Plan for potential COVID-19 surges during the upcoming winter months. These plans include making free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests available to Americans once again for a limited time.
All residential households in the U.S. can order one set of four at-home COVID-19 tests that will be mailed directly to them for free online at COVIDTests.gov.
To order the free tests, all you need to do is enter your name and a residential mailing address here. Shipping will start the week of Dec. 19 and continue in the weeks ahead. You can also share your email address to get updates on your order.
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“The administration has acted with its limited existing funding to add more at-home COVID-19 tests to the nation’s stockpile and support this round of ordering ahead of continued increases in COVID-19 cases,” the White House says on its website.
In addition to this program, there are over 15,000 free community testing sites nationwide. The federal government is also distributing free at-home tests to schools, nursing homes, community health centers, rural health clinics, and food banks to ensure communities have widespread access to tests this winter, according to the Biden administration.
If you need help placing your order for free at-home COVID-19 tests, you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). For more information on how to order free at-home rapid tests from the government, visit COVIDtests.gov/FAQ.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.