WASHINGTON – The Biden administration will launch a website on Wednesday where Americans can order up to four free COVID-19 test kits per person, the administration’s senior official said.
The tests, which are part of a 500 million test purchased by the Biden administration last month to help deal with a record increase in infections, will be available at COVIDTest.gov and sent to homes within 7-12 days via the U.S. Postal Service, the official said. , which informed journalists of the condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the announcement.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced that the administration would double its order to 1 billion domestic tests for COVID-19 in a nationwide lack of tests as cases in the US grow. The second batch of test kits will also be distributed for free through the website, officials said.
The White House is stepping up efforts to make testing more accessible and accessible after facing criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over the lack of COVID-19 test inventory, as the highly portable Omicron variant has been torn across the country, covering schools, flooding hospitals and frustrating. Americans exhausted the two-year pandemic.
Earlier this month, a group of Biden’s former health advisers issued a series of articles urging the administration to change its approach to fighting COVID-19 and urging Americans to learn to live with the virus after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came under fire. . for issuing confusing instructions on insulation.
The administration has so far procured more than 420 million from the first test order and, according to the official, is working to complete the contracts for the remaining 80 million.
The White House also plans to launch a telephone line to help those who do not have access to the website place orders, and will work with national and local community organizations to meet the needs of the most affected and risk-based communities, officials say.
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In addition to the free tests available on the website, private health insurers will have to pay people up to eight home tests a month through their insurance plans starting Saturday. Americans will be able to either purchase tests for free through their insurance or present receipts for redemption.
The president is expected to announce next week the steps he is taking to make high-quality masks available for free, but details on how they would be distributed are still unclear.
The latest White House effort comes at a time when hospitalizations for COVID-19 are setting new records, with some hospitals delaying optional operations while states deploy National Guard members to medical facilities.
The White House is also sending military medical teams to New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico to help counter the rise in COVID-19 cases.
About 1 in 5 hospitals said they had a “critical staff shortage” in data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, a U.S. TODAY analysis found. Every fourth expected a critical shortage over the next week.