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US ends free COVID test kit distribution — here’s the last day to place an order

woman taking covid test
woman taking covid test

Your free trial is coming to an end.

US health officials announced that Americans can no longer order free at-home COVID-19 tests after March 8.

Before the upcoming deadline, Americans can order four free rapid antigen tests through COVID.gov or USPS.

Americans can no longer order free at-home COVID-19 tests after March 8. AP
Americans can no longer order free at-home COVID-19 tests after March 8. AP

“ASPR (Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response) has delivered over 1.8 billion free COVID-19 tests to the American people through COVID.gov and direct distribution pathways and will continue distributing millions of tests per week to long-term care facilities, food banks, health centers and schools,” an ASPR spokesperson told CNN.

According to the ASPR, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, all orders placed on or before Friday will be fulfilled.

The change is related to the decrease in COVID cases and the public health emergency of the pandemic claiming the pandemic has been over since May 2023.

However, COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain high, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control data chart. So for people who remain concerned about the deadly virus and haven’t placed a kit order since Sept. 25, 2023, they can order two sets of four tests to receive a total of eight kits.

Many Americans relied on at-home tests during the pandemic to get their results versus going to the doctor’s office. Getty Images
Many Americans relied on at-home tests during the pandemic to get their results versus going to the doctor’s office. Getty Images

As people begin to receive their at-home kits, some may notice an expired date on the packaging but the US Food and Drug Administration has extended those expiration dates.

For example, a box with a printed expiration date of “2022-10-08” has been extended to “2023-08-08,” according to the FDA.

Overall, the testing kits should work through the end of the year.

Households can order two sets of COVID-19 tests if they haven’t placed an order since Sept. 25, 2023. Getty Images
Households can order two sets of COVID-19 tests if they haven’t placed an order since Sept. 25, 2023. Getty Images

Although the infectious virus spread has simmered down, the CDC encourages people to use the at-home kits if they notice any COVID-19 symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, fever or chills.

Unlike in the past, when people contracted the illness or had symptoms, they were advised to isolate for a few days. However, in an a report previously disclosed by The Post, the CDC has rolled back its five-day isolation guidance for people who have contracted COVID-19.

The report revealed that “under the updated guidelines, the CDC says those infected with the coronavirus can return to work or the public just one full day after their fever subsides.”

CDC Agency Director Dr. Mandy Cohen released a statement clarifying how to operate without the former isolation guidelines.

“However, we still must use the commonsense solutions we know work to protect ourselves and others from serious illness from respiratory viruses — this includes vaccination, treatment, and staying home when we get sick.”