Federal testing website to launch next week, supplies limited to 4 tests per home

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WASHINGTON (AP) – 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 just four free per household. tests will be limited.

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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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As he faced criticism for short inventories and long lines for testing, President Joe Biden announced last month that the US would buy 500 million home tests to launch the program, and on Thursday the president announced he would buy 1 billion. Doubling the order of tests. ,

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.

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

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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