Joe Biden relaunches federal COVID-19 testing website for ‘limited’ shipments to homes


The White House is relaunching a federal website that allows Americans to get COVID-19 tests mailed to their homes at no cost.

Administration officials said will reopen Thursday for a “limited round” in which each household can order up to four tests. Orders will begin to ship on Dec. 19.

“In the absence of Congress providing additional funding for the nation’s COVID-19 response, the administration has acted with its existing, limited funding to add more at-home COVID-19 tests to the nation’s stockpile and support this round of ordering ahead of continued increases in COVID-19 cases,” a White House fact sheet says.

The administration launched the website around this time last year after it was accused of being caught flat-footed by the omicron wave and a lack of virus testing.

The website was popular, but President Biden’s team suspended orders after Congress failed to pass new funding for the pandemic fight. The administration feared the program would run out of tests before a potential winter wave.

The administration outlined other steps Thursday ahead of the holiday season, as COVID-19 packs a less powerful punch than in 2020 and 2021 but combines with flu and a virus known as RSV to cause trouble this winter.

It is providing COVID-19 tests through 6,500 rental housing properties for seniors that are supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and distributing free at-home tests to up to 500 major food banks.

Roughly 38,000 Americans are hospitalized for COVID-19 right now, a 22% increase from two weeks ago, though that is far fewer than the 66,000 hospitalized at this time last year.

“While COVID-19 is not the disruptive force it once was, the virus continues to evolve, and cases are on the rise again as families are spending more time indoors and gathering for the holidays,” a White House fact sheet says.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is sending a letter urging states to set up mobile vaccination and testing clinics and “test to treat” sites where Americans can get tested for free and be prescribed treatments such as Paxlovid.

His letter reminds state leaders that the federal government will assist these efforts.

The administration is sending a “winter playbook” to administrators of nursing homes and long-term care facilities that summarizes ways to increase vaccinations and decrease the likelihood of illness.

The Biden team is also generally advising Americans to get a “bivalent” booster shot that attacks both the original strain of the virus and the omicron-related variants that are circulating in the U.S.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.


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