WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans are now able to request an additional four free COVID-19 tests for the ongoing season, announced the U.S. Postal Service on Monday. This move comes as health authorities gear up for an anticipated resurgence in virus cases during the upcoming weeks. The USPS stated that the four extra tests will be shipped for free starting the week of Nov. 27.
To order the free COVID tests, individuals can visit covid.gov/tests or the postal service’s webpage, which is the same process as the previous round of free tests offered in September. Households that missed out on ordering the initial four free tests will have the opportunity to place two orders from the USPS, securing a total of eight free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.
As per the Department of Health and Human Services, which distributes the tests from its stockpile of previously-purchased kits, 56 million tests have been delivered thus far this season. This amounts to approximately 14 million American households that have requested tests. Federal health officials continue to encourage the use of COVID-19 tests to mitigate the risk of virus transmission during the holiday season, in conjunction with other precautions such as vaccinations and masking.
COVID-19 testing also aids individuals in determining whether they should seek Pfizer’s Paxlovid, a drug treatment that can help prevent more severe symptoms. Although the transition of the medication to the private market is scheduled for this month, it remains available. The distribution of new test kits arrives as health authorities closely monitor virus data, with cases anticipated to rise this winter.
After a period of mostly stagnant or declining COVID-19 trends, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a slight increase in nationwide emergency department visits and hospitalizations on Friday. COVID-19 still accounts for the largest share of emergency department visits for viral respiratory illnesses across the country, alongside the accelerated trends of flu and RSV in recent weeks. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks and getting vaccinated, particularly as the holiday season approaches.
In summary, Americans can order an additional four free COVID-19 tests from the U.S. Postal Service, with the tests being shipped for free starting the week of Nov. 27. The Department of Health and Human Services has delivered 56 million tests this season, aiming to equip households with the necessary tools to mitigate the spread of the virus during the holiday season. As COVID-19 cases are expected to increase in the coming weeks, federal health officials are urging Americans to utilize testing, vaccines, and masking to protect themselves and others.