For what feels like a very, very long time now, Americans have been waiting for a way to access free, at-home Covid tests. And now we can do just that, thanks to COVIDtests.gov, which is officially up and running. The process to sign up for your tests is super fast and simple, too.
The rollout for free COVID-19 tests is underway one day early, and many Americans are already placing their orders. All you have to do is fill out a brief address form from the U.S. Postal Service.
Last week, the White House announced that it would publicly launch the COVIDtests.gov site on Wednesday, Jan. 19, but many visitors to the site have been able to place their orders for Covid tests early. Every U.S. residential address is eligible to order four rapid antigen tests for free from the USPS, which will begin shipping the tests out in late January.
"It will officially launch tomorrow morning. It's in the beta testing phase right now," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during Tuesday's briefing. “We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two,” Psaki said, “but the best tech teams across the administration and the postal service are working hard to make this a success.”
According to the site, the tests that will be sent out:
- Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR
- Can be taken anywhere
- Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
- Work whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms
- Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines
- Are also referred to self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests
A credit card isn't needed to order the free tests and there is no cost, unlike the insurance reimbursement program that began Saturday, Jan. 15. Many people will have to submit receipts in order to get reimbursed.
The free tests are part of the Biden administration's purchase of 500 million tests last month amid a record surge in positive case numbers.
For more information about the free tests or to order your four tests, visit COVIDtests.gov.