Website for free virus tests is here. How does it work?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Under criticism after weeks of shortages, President Joe Biden's administration is working to make COVID-19 rapid test kits more available and accessible to Americans by boosting supply and lowering costs. A new federal website to request free test kits officially launches Wednesday — but was available to use Tuesday — with the first shipments going out to Americans by the end of the month. In addition, most Americans are now able to get reimbursed for tests that they purchase.
Key details about the new programs:
HOW CAN I REQUEST A FREE TEST?
Free tests can be ordered at covidtests.gov or at usps.com/covidtest. The first tests will ship by the end of January. The White House says “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service. USPS reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class package service in the continental United States. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) addresses will be sent through Priority Mail.
Importantly, given the shipping and process times, Americans will need to request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for requiring a test.
DOES THE WEBSITE WORK?
The White House emphasized that the website was in “beta testing" when it made tests available for ordering for the first time on Tuesday. At points, more than 750,000 people were accessing the website at the same time, according to public government tracking data, but it was not immediately known how many orders were placed.
There were isolated reports Tuesday afternoon of issues relating to the website’s address verification tool erroneously enforcing the four-per-household cap on apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings, but it was not...