Free COVID tests – Starting Monday, 25th September, the federal government will send up to four free COVID-19 rapid tests per household to anyone who requests them.
This announcement comes with a recognition that COVID hospitalizations in the U.S. peaked in January for the past three years running and that testing is an important component of minimizing the spread of the infection.
Many of the pandemic programs that allowed Americans to get tested, treated and vaccinated for COVID — all for free — went away this year as the pandemic emergency designation expired.
The Government of the United States is investing $600 million in the production of COVID tests through its Administration for strategic preparedness and response. This money has been allocated to twelve U.S. producers and will be used to purchase 200 million tests. Secretary of Health and Human services Xavier Becerra has stated that the goal of this investment is to strengthen the United States supply chain and reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers.
In January 2022, the first batch of rapid tests by mail was distributed during the peak of COVID infection in January 2022. This free test offer has been repeatedly extended and has resulted in the distribution of 755 million tests. It is strongly advised that individuals do not discard unused tests, even if the expiration dates have passed. For those with unused tests, the expiration dates have been extended and will be listed on the COVIDtests.org website.
The Strategic Preparedness Office is also providing free tests to Long-Term Care Facilities, Low-Income Senior Housing, Uninsured Individuals, and Underprivileged Communities.