Free, at-home Covid test kits will be available to all Americans once again. This news comes after another surge in Covid cases in the fall, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an expectation for rising cases due to the holiday season.
For the week ending Sept. 9, hospitalizations increased 7.7% from 19,068 to 20,538 weekly hospitalizations—the first time hospitalizations have surpassed 20,000 since March of this year.
The Biden administration hopes to prevent possible shortages in tests during the current surge and throughout the fall and winter.
The test site relaunched Sept. 25, with each household able to request up to four free tests and now you can go back and place another order—for a total of eight tests per household. If you didn’t order any in the fall then, you can place two orders now for your household. All you have to do is fill out a brief address form from the U.S. Postal Service.
“We’re going to see families gather with older loved ones and younger loved ones and it’s important that they are able to protect their loved ones from Covid as we head into the winter months.” Dawn O’Connell, head of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), tells ABC News.
The government previously offered free test kits last winter, but shipments have been intermittent this year to conserve supplies in the federal stockpile of tests.
According to the free COVID test 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.
For more information about the free tests or to order your four tests, visit COVIDtests.gov.
A version of this story was published January 18, 2022. It has been updated.