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White House launches website for free home COVID tests a day ahead of schedule | Health

TUESDAY, Jan. 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) — It was supposed to debut on Wednesday, but the feds quietly launched its website so Americans could order free home COVID tests a day early.

Go to COVIDTests.gov and you can quickly order four tests delivered to your doorstep by the US Postal Service. Only four tests will be administered to a single residential address, and there is a note on the website indicating that the tests will be sent out no earlier than the end of January. “Orders will typically ship within 7-12 days,” the website says.

According to Associated Press, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the early launch was due for “beta testing” and was still working at “limited capacity” ahead of the website’s official debut on Wednesday. She added that “a bug or two” could arise, but a team of IT experts are working to ensure the launch goes smoothly.

The new online distribution location is an effort by President Joe Biden to address widespread test kit shortages and long lines at testing sites as the fast-spreading Omicron variant pushes COVID-19 numbers always higher. Biden initially said he was ordering 500 million tests for free distribution, but then doubled that number to 1 billion last week.

The delivery date at the end of January set by COVIDTests.gov may come just as supply problems at pharmacies and elsewhere in the country begin to ease, so federal officials stress the website is just one option for Americans looking for home testing.

From Saturday, new regulations required private insurers to pay for up to eight rapid home COVID tests per month, reimbursing enrollees for tests purchased online or at pharmacies.

More information:

There’s more on COVID testing at US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

THE SOURCE: Associated press