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COVID-19: Website For Ordering Free At-Home Tests Launches Sooner Than Expected

COVID-19 home tests will be made available for some earlier than others.
COVID-19 home tests will be made available for some earlier than others. Photo Credit: Daily Voice

Some Americans were granted access to free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests through the federal government a day earlier than initially planned as the website went live before expected.

The White House announced last week that beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 19, it will begin distributing up to one billion free testing kits, however, some reported that they were able to place their orders on Tuesday, Jan. 18, a day early as the website had a "soft" launch.

On Tuesday afternoon, the White House confirmed that the website had been launched in its “beta phase,” and was “operating at limited capacity ahead of its official launch,” which will then open up more widely to Americans on Wednesday.

“This is standard practice to address the troubleshooting and ensure as smooth of an official launch tomorrow as possible," a White House spokesperson said in a statement. "We expect the website to officially launch mid-morning tomorrow.”

Once ordered, the tests will take approximately seven to 12 days to ship, and can be requested at COVIDTests.gov beginning on Wednesday.

Americans will have the option of ordering up to four free tests per residential address at the beginning of the program, which is expected to expand as hundreds of millions of new tests are secured by the federal government.

The federal government has secured more than 420 million tests for distribution through their website already, with plans to increase the order to 1 billion tests in the coming weeks.

All of the tests supplied will be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are capable of detecting the more-transmissible, dominant COVID-19 omicron variant of the virus.

According to the website, “a positive at-home test result means that the test found the virus, and you very likely have COVID-19.

“A negative at-home test result means that the test did not find the virus, and you may have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 to others,” they continued. "Check your test kit’s instructions for specific next steps. If you test negative, you should test again within a few days with at least 24 hours between tests.”

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