Actions launches one day ahead of schedule

Site lets people to order free tests to their homes
Posted at 11:32 AM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 19:32:18-05

A White House website that allows people to order free COVID-19 test kits directly to their homes appeared to be operational on Tuesday, a day ahead of its scheduled Wednesday launch date.

Visitors to on Tuesday were able to click through to a USPS website and order four free rapid antigen test kits per household. The USPS website said the kits would ship in "late January."

According to a fact sheet released by the White House Friday, everyone in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories will be able to place an order through beginning Wednesday. The White House said that tests would ship in between seven to 12 days.

Packages will be sent through USPS First Class mail in the continental U.S. and through Priority Mail in Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories.

Orders will be sent first to "households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly during this omicron surge."

The Biden Administration also added that it would launch a call line, where people without internet access will be able to place orders for free tests. The White House has not yet announced the number for that call line.

The White House says 500 million tests will be available once the website launches. Earlier this week, the Biden Administration said it had placed an order for another 500 million tests, which will be available later this year.

“Especially, we want to focus on people who may be living in under-served communities that may not have easy access to come over and go through the drive-thru, this’ll be another option for them,” said Metro Public Health Department spokesperson, Brian Todd.

The new mail-order tests come after sky-rocketing demand left local store shelves empty and testing sites with long lines.

But local health departments like Metro Health rely on lab results from in-person test sites to calculate active cases. At-home COVID tests usually are not reported, making it difficult to capture the true number of cases in an area.

However, Todd said it's a situation the department has already been facing. “Just like with flu season- you might not be testing everybody, those aren’t all going to be reported to us- but we can get an idea of how many people are testing positive to get a kind of a 30,000 foot level of what the illness is and the amount of the illness in the community while we continue to do what we’ve been doing,” he said.