White House Unrolls Free COVID-19 Test Program
Published: January 21st, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

White House unrolls free COVID-19 test program The Biden Administration is distributing one billion free COVID tests to Americans. Tests can be ordered at covidtests.gov, and are limited to four per household. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — On Friday, January 14, the White House announced the Biden Administration would be purchasing one billion at-home COVID tests to distribute to Americans for free.

"To help ensure Americans have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden Administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free. A half-billion tests will be available for order on January 19th and will be mailed directly to American households," said a statement issued by the White House.

The tests are available on covidtests.gov. Residents of the United States, as well as residents of U.S. territories and overseas military, can order four at-home tests per household by clicking the "Order Free At-Home COVID Tests" button.

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All that is needed to order is contact information and a residential address. Identification, health insurance, and credit card information are not required, and recipients can also receive tracking updates by entering their email address.

Those without internet access, or who need assistance placing an order, can call 1-800-232-0233. A TeleTYpe line is available for hearing impaired individuals at 1-888-720-7489.

"Tests will start shipping the week of January 24," the covidtests.org website states. "Once your order is shipped, you will receive an email with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. You can track the status of your delivery on USPS.com."

All tests are FDA-authorized rapid antigen tests that provide results within 30 minutes, without having to be taken to a lab, and will come with full instructions on how to properly use them. The covidtests.gov website states the tests will "work whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms, [and] work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines."

The website also advises that individuals should use an at-home test if "you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell; or at least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19; or when you're going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines."

As far as reporting positive at-home test results, the Chenango County Health Department recently announced new guidelines.

"We will no longer be formally registering at-home tests," said Director of Environmental Health Isaiah Sutton. "We ask those who test positive with these tests to begin self-isolation for at least five days and until recovered, notify close contacts, and utilize self-directed isolation and quarantine documents available online."

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At-home testing information, and self-isolation and quarantine documents, are available at www.co.chenango.ny.us/public-health/nursing/covid19-at-home-testing.php.

Additionally, they requested those who test positive to not seek further testing at emergency rooms, and urged employers not to request employees to seek additional testing.

"Please do not go to the ER to seek additional COVID testing. There have been some reports from our medical community that COVID testing is clogging up the ER unnecessarily. Please go to a testing site if you are only there for testing and have no symptoms," said Health Department officials.

"If you are an employer, please do not require your employees to do additional testing or to get a PCR test. We do not recommend that your employees go the ER or to their provider for additional testing once they have a positive at-home test. A positive at-home test is a positive test."

More information on COVID-19 guidelines, testing, and vaccines can be found at www.co.chenango.ny.us/public-health/ by clicking the "General and Vaccine Info" and "At-Home/Self Test Info" buttons, at coronavirus.health.ny.gov, and at cdc.gov/coronavirus/.