As hospitalizations and deaths due to Covid-19 have ticked up in recent weeks, the federal government is bringing back one tool to help track and stop the spread of illness: free at-home tests delivered to you.
The Biden administration began sending out tests through its Covid.gov website in January 2022, but stopped taking orders in June 2023 to conserve supplies. Starting Sept. 25, the site will resume taking orders for free Covid-19 tests.
Here's how to get yours.
Starting on Sept. 25, you'll be able to order four more at-home rapid Covid-19 tests for free through the federal government's website.
You will likely only need to provide your name and mailing address to order your tests, and will have the option of providing your email address to receive order updates. The limit is one order per residential address and each order comes with four tests. Orders will begin shipping on Oct. 2, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
If you have old tests with expiration dates that have passed, you can check to see if the date has been extended before throwing them out. And if you need a Covid-19 test before you're able to order new ones, they are still widely available at pharmacies and other retailers, or you can visit the Center for Disease Control's locator to find a no-cost testing site near you.
Though late summer has brought a surge of Covid-19 due largely to new variants, it's possible the fall and winter seasons may bring another uptick in infections. If you're looking for ways to protect yourself in addition to stocking up on tests, updated booster shots are now available.
The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older receive a new Moderna or Pfizer vaccination to protect against serious illness.
The symptoms for the latest Covid-19 variant making waves, EG.5 or "Eris," are similar to those of previous strains and can include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Loss of taste and smell
If you're feeling under the weather with some or all of those symptoms, it's a good idea to take a test.
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