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Federal COVID-19 testing website launches next week, 4 tests per home

Federal COVID-19 testing website launches next week, 4 tests per home

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday as the White House strives to address shortages nationwide, but supplies will be limited to just four free ones. tests per home.

The website will be open from January 19th COVIDTests.gov will offer free tests, including free shipping, the White House announced Friday.

Faced with criticism for low inventory and long lines for testing, President Joe Biden announced last month that the U.S. would buy 500 million home tests to launch the program, and on Thursday the president announced he would double the order to 1 billion. testing .

But Americans shouldn’t expect a quick turnaround on orders, and they will have to plan ahead and request the tests well before meeting federal guidelines for using a test.

The White House said “tests typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” via the US Postal Service, which reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class parcel service in the continental United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends home testing when experiencing COVID-19 systems, including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms, and muscle aches, five days after possible COVID-19 exposure, or as part of test-to-test. residence protocols in schools and in the workplace.

“Especially if you’re going to get together with family, if you’re going to a gathering where people are immunocompromised or where they’re elderly or where you have people who may not be vaccinated or poorly protected against a vaccine, that could be an opportunity for you. want to test,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, Wednesday.

Officials stressed that the federal website is just one way for people to purchase COVID-19 tests. Starting Saturday, private insurance companies will have to cover the cost of rapid at-home tests, reimbursing Americans for tests they purchase from pharmacies and online retailers. That covers up to eight tests per month.

The White House said the four-test limit for website orders will be applied to any residential address and will apply to the first tranche of 500 million tests. It estimates the cost of buying and distributing the first block of tests at $4 billion.

Officials said they are aware that any website launch carries risks — and memories of the disastrous rollout during the Obama administration of healthcare.gov are still fresh, but said they believe they are well positioned to handle the expected demand for testing.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.