Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 56° Cloudy
News >  Health

White House launches website where Americans can request free rapid COVID-19 tests

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 18, 2022

Youngstown City Health Department worker Faith Terreri grabs two at-home COVID-19 test kits to be handed out during a distribution event Dec. 30 in Youngstown, Ohio.  (David Dermer/Associated Press)
Youngstown City Health Department worker Faith Terreri grabs two at-home COVID-19 test kits to be handed out during a distribution event Dec. 30 in Youngstown, Ohio. (David Dermer/Associated Press)

WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday launched a new website that lets Americans request free rapid COVID-19 tests, a day earlier than the site was scheduled to go live.

The website, COVIDTests.gov, directs users to an order form hosted by the U.S. Postal Service, which will deliver four at-home tests to each residential address. The wave of 500 million free tests is part of the Biden administration’s effort to make the tests more accessible and affordable amid a nationwide surge in cases caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

In a briefing Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the website began accepting orders early for “beta testing” and would be formally launched Wednesday morning. Orders submitted Tuesday would be valid, Psaki said, and the soft launch would give the administration a chance to work out glitches before the official unveiling.

“Every website launch, in our view, comes with risk,” Psaki told reporters. “We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two, but the best tech teams across the administration and the Postal Service are working hard to make this a success.”

Americans who can’t access the website will be able to request tests by phone, according to the White House website, but that phone number had not been announced as of Tuesday afternoon. According to the White House, tests will usually ship within seven to 12 days of being ordered.

Even a half-billion free tests will not be enough to provide each of the roughly 330 million Americans with the two rapid tests usually included in each kit. The administration has taken other steps to help fill the additional need, including a requirement that went into effect Saturday for private insurance companies to cover the cost of up to eight tests per person each month.

Orion Donovan-Smith's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.