COVID-19 at-home rapid tests or "antigen tests" have been hard to come by in many Pennslyvania drug stores for the last few months.
Every time I went to my local CVS or Rite Aid in the past few months, they were completely sold out. Maybe you experienced this too?
But now, you can get four COVID test kits sent directly to your home at no charge due to a new initiative by the U.S. government.
According to the information provided on the US Postal Service website, "this effort is part of a federal program to provide free at-home COVID-19 tests with free shipping to every residential address in the United States."
To qualify to get your free at-home rapid tests, you must be a U.S. resident. Test kits cannot be shipped outside of the country.
There is a limit of four free test kits per household. Your order must be sent to a residential address or residential P.O. box. Test kit orders cannot be shipped to agencies or other locations that receive commercial mail.
You can order your free COVID-19 at-home rapid test kits (or antigen tests) by going to www.covidtests.gov.
Ensure that you go to the ".gov" site and not the ".com" site, as the latter is an unsecured website that will not lead you to the correct online order form.
Once you are on the site, fill out your name and the address where you would like to have your free COVID rapid test kits sent. Shipping is free, so there is no charge for this.
Once you complete the order form, you will receive a confirmation with a USPS tracking code. According to the USPS website, the test kits will usually ship within 7-12 days.
Please note that you cannot change the delivery address once you complete your order, so make sure that you enter your address correctly when filling out the form.
You can also place an order for free COVID-19 test kits by phone by calling 1-800-232-0233 between the hours of 8 am and midnight, seven days a week.
It is not clear how long these free test kits will be available, so it is recommended that you place your order as soon as possible while supplies last.
Additionally, if you need a COVID test now, it is recommended that you go to a COVID testing location as soon as possible and get a free test there, rather than waiting 7-12 days to receive the at-home rapid test.
If you have additional questions regarding these free at-home COVID test kits, please visit the official government site at www.covidtests.gov for more information.