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Ensuring Safety for the Season: Unlocking More Free COVID Tests – Here’s Your Guide to Secure Yours

SARS COV 2 rapid antigen test kit | MK Medicals UK

In time for the Christmas season, the government is giving another round of free at-home COVID testing to Americans. As flu and RSV season begin, many people are thinking about how to keep their family healthy before huge holiday parties.

This wave of free tests comes at a time when insurance companies are no longer compelled to pay for COVID testing, which was previously covered to the tune of eight take-home tests each month. According to KFF research, at-home tests typically cost between $12 and $24 per pack, with an average cost of $11 per test.

While free testing is available in communities across the United States, and the Department of Health and Human Services continues to distribute free at-home tests to schools, nursing homes, community health centers, rural health clinics, and food banks, some people prefer the convenience and accessibility that at-home testing provides.

Fortunately, placing an order is simple, and those who did not take advantage of the free round made available in September are entitled to make two orders at once in order to stock up.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 20, every family in the United States will be able to order four free at-home tests. Every home is entitled to at least four, but those who did not receive the last wave, which was made available in September, can submit two orders and receive up to eight.

To place an order online, go to and fill out the form with your full name and postal address. The tests will then be mailed for free by USPS to the specified address, including P.O. boxes. If you provide your email address, you will get an order number and updates by email.

According to the confirmation screen at the end of the transaction procedure, orders will begin shipping the week of November 27. On this screen, consumers will also receive a warning that the free tests may have expired dates on the box, but the tests are still valid due to the Food and Drug Administration extending expiration dates for home coronavirus testing.

Those who are unable to use the online order form or want assistance can contact 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). People with disabilities can also contact the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) at 1-888-677-1199 or [email protected] for assistance in placing orders.

If you have any concerns concerning eligibility, the online buying form, shipment, or delivery, please call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Here’s what to expect once you place your order

Once dispatched, the tests are sent by USPS Ground Advantage, which has an estimated delivery time of two to five days, according to the USPS website.

It’s crucial to remember that at-home tests are faster antigen tests than PCR tests, which are typically thought to be the most accurate. At-home antigen testing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, takes only minutes and is accurate and reliable when reporting positive findings.

PCR tests, on the other hand, are more likely to identify the virus even when the patient is asymptomatic. As a result, the FDA advises two negative antigen tests for people with symptoms or three antigen tests for those who don’t have symptoms, conducted 48 hours apart. In comparison, only one PCR test is necessary.

If you require testing sooner, there are alternative programs that offer free or low-cost examinations, such as community-based testing facilities.

Flu and RSV season, as well as coronavirus, are worries as the colder weather approaches. According to the CDC, COVID-19 infections have been fluctuating since this summer, with weekly hospitalizations peaking at 20,678 on Sept. 9 and falling to 16,239 on Nov. 11.

Because of the various gatherings that occur over the Christmas season, testing is recommended even if you do not have symptoms before attending an event, gathering, or seeing an at-risk individual.

If you’re concerned about COVID around your loved ones this Christmas season, the CDC recommends the following precautions:

  • Test as close to the event as possible (ideally within 1-2 days).
  • To be confident in a negative result from an antigen test, follow the instructions for repeat testing.
  • Additionally, before contacting people who are at a higher risk of serious disease, you should look for a free testing facility or see your doctor for a PCR test.
  • Consider social distance or wearing masks at big gatherings, travel, or other high-transmission occasions when at-risk persons may be present.
  • Keep your COVID immunizations and boosters up-to-date. If you’re able, get your flu and RSV injections as well.
  • Vaccinations should be obtained at least two weeks before any holiday travel or gatherings.
  • Maintain proper hygiene and handwashing habits.
  • If you are infected or have symptoms of disease, stay at home.

If you have symptoms, test right away. If you just plan on doing one test, a PCR will produce a more accurate negative test result.

  • A positive antigen test result is dependable, whereas a negative test result is not always correct.
  • If your antigen test is negative, repeat it in 48 hours or perform a PCR test as soon as possible.

If you have no symptoms but have been exposed to COVID-19, wait at least 5 full days before taking a test.

  • If you just plan on doing one test, a PCR will produce a more accurate negative test result.
  • A positive antigen test result is dependable, whereas a negative test result is not always correct.
  • If your antigen test is negative, repeat it in 48 hours or perform a PCR test as soon as possible.
  • If your second antigen test is likewise negative, wait 48 hours before testing again.

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