Here’s how you can get a free rapid at-home test:
As COVID cases surge amid test shortages, the website for free rapid at-home tests promised by President Biden has arrived in a timely fashion. The Covidtests.gov officially went live on January 19 (albeit in “beta phase”) and shipments will go out to Americans at the end of the month. This is part of a wider White House plan to deliver 1 billion rapid tests over the next few months which, in theory, could help curb the spread of the virus.
How To Get A Free COVID-19 Test
You can make an order via covidtests.gov. According to the website, you should receive a free shipment within 7 to 12 days. Currently, there is a maximum of four tests available per address, regardless of the number of residents. This may change as more become available. If you don’t receive your test you can contact USPS’s help desk at 1-800-275-8777 or
Alternatively, you will be able to get one from a pharmacy or participating retailer and be reimbursed by your health insurer thanks to a new Biden administration rule. Insurance companies are required to reimburse you at a rate of up to $12 per individual test (or the cost of the test, if less than $12) for up to eight tests a month.
Lastly, you can go to one of over 20,000 testing sites across the U.S. where you can get a free PCR or antigen test.
What Type Of Test Is It?
The tests are rapid at-home or over-the-counter (OTC) antigen tests, they are not PCR tests. You will have results within 30 minutes and it will show you if you have COVID-19 even if you’re asymptomatic.
When Should I Take The Test?
According to the website, there are three instances where home tests could prove useful and help prevent the spread of the virus:
- If you’re showing any symptoms like a high fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell.
- At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19
- Any time you plan on attending a group gathering, especially if any of the other attendees are high-risk individuals
What Happens If Your Test Comes Back Negative?
That simply means you may be less likely to spread the virus. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the test was not carried out correctly. Either way, it’s best to test again in 24 hours.
What Happens If Your Test Comes Back Positive?
In this case, it’s highly likely that you have COVID-19. You can follow the CDC’s isolation guidance here.