Free COVID Tests Are Back

If you’re feeling nostalgic for the days when you could order a free pack of four or eight COVID tests from the government , we’ve got a holiday surprise for you: the free COVID test program, which was suspended in August , is back for a limited time. . timing — and on a fortunate note, given that seasonal disease rates are elevated even as COVID remains ubiquitous , not to mention the fact that several home tests have just been withdrawn due to inaccuracy . (Yes, I realize this sounds like a disappointing Christmas ploy, but these days it’s just the vibe of our national preventive strategy.) is already taking orders – I just posted mine this morning. Each family can receive a package with 4 separate tests. Orders will begin shipping the week of December 19th.

If you are unable to access the website or need further assistance, you can also order tests by calling 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) from 8:00 am to midnight anytime. day of the week. The telephone line is available in English, Spanish and 150 other languages.

The website also reminds you that if you order additional tests because your old ones have expired , those expiration dates may have been extended , and you can find yours here .

As noted, COVID cases are on the rise again, and the CDC has advised people to likely wear masks again in places like New York and Los Angeles, where transmission of COVID, influenza, and RSV is particularly high. The White House announced that the free tests are part of the winterization plan . (The plan includes a key message of “we’re doing the best we can on a limited budget,” such as sending a letter to governors proposing more temporary vaccine clinics.)

No word yet on whether there might be additional rounds of free trials, so get them while you can. Then make sure you know how to properly store your tests so they last as long as possible if you don’t use them right away.


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