Feds offer another round of free at-home COVID tests

The federal government is offering another round of free COVID-19 tests starting Monday.

Those who didn’t send away the first time, in September, have not lost out.

“Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order an additional 4 free at-⁠home tests beginning November 20,” the government says on its COVID-19 website. “If you did not order tests this fall, you may place two orders for a total of 8 tests.”

COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations have been holding steady since the uptick earlier in the fall, and health officials would like to keep it that way, especially as the flu and RSV seasons get under way. Since the state of emergency was lifted in May, insurance companies have not been required to cover the cost of tests, making this the first winter that insurers have been out of the test picture. Tests run an average of $11 each.

In this file photo, a United States government website is displayed on a computer that features a page where people can order free, at-home COVID-19 tests on Jan. 19, 2022, in Walpole, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

About 14.5 million households have ordered free tests since September, bringing the total to 58 million shipped overall, ABC News reported.

“We’re going to see families gather with older loved ones and younger loved ones, and it’s important that they are able to protect their loved ones from COVID as we head into the winter months,” said Dawn O’Connell, who heads the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response. “So we think opening up right before the winter holidays really kick in is going to be very important for the American people, to provide this access for the free four tests again.”

Also on health experts’ wish list are COVID vaccines. As of the end of October, though, only 7% of adults in the U.S. and 2% of children had gotten the newest shot. The pandemic emergency may be over, health officials said, but COVID-19 is still killing 1,200 people a week.

With News Wire Services

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