In less than the time it takes to read the first two paragraphs of this story, you can order four free rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits from the federal government’s new website at covidtests.gov. (Keep reading for information on free N95 masks available locally, possibly by the end of next week.)
The at-home tests site officially launched Jan. 19, with a soft launch the day before. Each residential address (not each resident at that address) is allowed four free antigen test kits. Your health insurance plan will reimburse you, and anyone else on your plan, for eight additional at-home test kits each month.
“Testing is an exit strategy with regards to the pandemic and decreasing everything,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist.
When you get to the site, click on “Order Free At-Home Tests.”
Information Required for Free COVID-19 Tests
Once you get to this United States Postal Service page, all it takes is your name and mailing address. Add your email address for shipping notifications.
Free N95 Masks
The federal government said Wednesday it will distribute 400 million nonsurgical N95 masks — more than half of the Strategic National Stockpile — without charge at community health centers and retail pharmacies. The masks will start shipping this week, with distribution expected to start late next week.
The move follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask guidance last week that suggests cloth masks do not provide the same level of protection against the Omicron variant as surgical masks or N95 respirators.