Healthy Body

PSA: Now Is Your Last Chance To Get Free COVID Tests From the Post Office

Photo: Getty Images/Alvaro Lavin
In January 2022, President Biden made one billion free at-home COVID-19 tests available to the American people through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Now, nearly eight months later, the administration has announced that it is pausing the program after over 350 million free tests have been administered.

"Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests," reads the test ordering website. However, if you've yet to order third round of free tests, you may still do so until Friday, September 2nd.

To order your last round of free tests (which includes eight rapid COVID tests per household), simply head to COVID.gov/tests or call 1-800-232-0233. Then, you'll need to enter your full name, email, and address to receive the complimentary testing kit. Kits come in two separate, free shipments of four tests.

Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are leveling off after an increase in the summer months. But with the aggressive omicron BA.5 variant circulating, there's still power in having these home tests on hand.  That way, you can know whether you're carrying the virus sooner (and take steps to protect your loved ones and care for yourself).

Generally, self-administered tests involve swabbing your nostrils and they deliver results quickly. "The advantage of at-home tests is that they are fast," Karen Edwards, PhD, a professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine, previously told Well+Good. "You get the results immediately, in 10 to 15 minutes, for example." They're ideal to use right before a gathering or social event, as they can quickly tell you whether or not you're potentially infected and contagious.

That said, if you find yourself in need of more COVID-19 tests after the government-funded testing program goes on hiatus next month, you may still be able to order free tests via your private insurance provider or your Medicaid and Medicare plan. Plus, you can also still find free testing facilities near you.

Here's more information from a doctor about how to live "normally" with the ongoing pandemic: 

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