Federal testing website launches next week, 4 tests per home

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White House says federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 testing will start accepting orders Wednesday

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WASHINGTON – The federal website where Americans can request free COVID-19 tests will begin accepting orders on Wednesday as the White House seeks to address nationwide shortages, but supplies will be limited to just four free tests per household.

The White House announced on Friday that, starting January 19, the website COVIDTests.gov will provide tests at no cost, including no shipping charges.

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But Americans shouldn’t expect a rapid turnaround on orders and will have to plan ahead and request tests before they can meet federal guidelines for using the test.

The White House said that tests will “generally ship within 7-12 days of ordering” via the US Postal Service, which offers a shipping time of 1-3 days for its First Class package service in the continental United States. reports to.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when experiencing COVID-19 systems including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms and muscle aches, five days after potential COVID-19 exposure, or test-from-testing protocols in schools and workplaces Stay.

“Definitely if you’re going to gather with family, if you’re going to a gathering where people are immunocompromised or where they’re elderly or where you have people who are vaccinated or poorly protected Which could be an opportunity you might want to get tested,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Valensky on Wednesday.

Officials stressed that the federal website is just one way for people to get a COVID-19 test. Starting Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover the cost of rapid testing at home, allowing Americans to be reimbursed for tests purchased at pharmacies and online retailers. This includes eight tests per month.

The White House said the four-test limit on website orders would apply to each residential address and the first tranche of 500 million tests. It estimates the cost of purchasing and delivering the first block of tests to be $4 billion.

Officials said they are aware that any launch of the website carries some risks — and that the recollections of the disastrous roll-out of Healthcare.gov during the Obama administration are still fresh — but they believe That they are well positioned to handle the expected demand for tests. ,

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