There are now over 900,000 active COVID-19 cases in the United States and a 12.5% increase in COVID-related deaths. After concerns that consumers could struggle to find testing kits this winter, the Biden administration has decided to resume the distribution of free tests.
Every American household can now request up to four free COVID-19 self-tests, designed to detect the EG.5 strain, also known as the “Eris” strain.
The latest testing recommendations from the CDC
When to self-test:
If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, fatigue, etc., you should perform a test immediately.
If the initial test shows a negative result, the CDC recommends repeating the test 48 hours after the first one. Additionally, consider consulting a healthcare provider to evaluate the need for testing for other viral infections or illnesses. Follow the recommended precautions to protect yourself and others.
If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the CDC advises waiting five days after your exposure before conducting a test. In this scenario, individuals who test negative for COVID-19 using an at-home test should repeat the test 48 hours after the first one. If both tests are negative, further testing should be performed after another 48 hours, totaling three tests.
What to do with old tests
If you happen to have old, unused COVID-19 self-tests lying around, it’s worth noting that while these tests come with expiration dates, some have been extended, as confirmed by the FDA. For instance, certain Abbott Diagnostics tests originally set to expire at the beginning of the year are still effective. Before discarding your old tests, it’s advisable to consult the FDA’s list to determine if their expiration dates have indeed passed or if they’ve been extended.
How to order free testing kits
The self-tests are not only user-friendly but also offer the flexibility of being used at any location and time. You can place your order through various methods:
Online at COVIDTests.gov
By calling 1-800-232-0233
For individuals with disabilities, by calling or emailing the Disability Information and Access Line at 1-888-677-1199 or DIAL@usaginganddisability.org