USPS COVID Test Kits

admin

May 26, 2023

Between January 3, 2020, and December 21, 2022, in the United States, close to 98.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with over 1 million deaths, were reported to the World Health Organization. Because coronavirus cases are still rising, many people can benefit from free COVID test kits. 

This article discusses the availability of USPS COVID test kits and how you can get them for free. It also looks into how long it takes to receive the test kits, how you can track the delivery, how many test kits you can order, and whether you can choose the brand of the COVID test kit.

This write-up discusses what will happen once you have gotten your results, whether those results are positive or negative. The coronavirus still threatens everyone today, so everyone needs to be aware of their symptoms and prevent the virus from spreading.

The U.S. Postal Service has resumed its free home delivery of the federal government’s COVID test. For more shipping information about the USPS COVID test kits distribution, you can ask your local post office by visiting FindPostOffice.org and following the directions to find it. This website can locate 3,133 post offices in the United States.

COVID Tests

The FDA has released a new resource to make coronavirus test kits available for free. The website COVIDtests.gov offers COVID testing information, with a link to the U.S. Postal Service’s website, where you can order rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to be delivered to your home address.

You Can Order Free COVID Tests From the Government Again

The U.S. government will continue to make COVID-19 tests available at no cost for Americans who wish to take the test in their homes, officials said. 

Each household may order a maximum of eight tests. You might order a second batch of four more if you ordered four test kits in January 2022, when the program launched.

The White House released a video assuring people that the website was ready to be used again. Biden urged everyone to get their free tests to prepare for whatever COVID-19 brings.

More than half of American households placed orders for tests in January and February. Tom Inglesby, the White House Testing coordinator, told the National Public Radio (NPR) that they had arranged for people to access these tests before a second round was released. 

USPS Sends Free and Accessible At-Home COVID Tests to People Who Are Visually Impaired or Low-Vision

The federal government announced this week that they would provide free home COVID-19 tests to people who are blind or have low vision. People can now order the two tests through the USPS website.

The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) has been urging government officials to create more accessible home-test kits since the pandemic’s beginning. 

These home-test kits could save the lives of people particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infections. However, at-home testing options were limited for those who lived alone and had no one to help them with the test or read the results.

Fortunately, the new accessible tests are designed to be taken through a user’s Bluetooth device, allowing for immediate audible step-by-step instructions on how to take the test. With this new design, you only need to download an app from Ellume onto your smartphone.

Sassy Outwater-Wright, MABVI Executive Director, is glad to see that accountability has finally been implemented. She acknowledges the hard work that went into raising awareness of this issue but stresses that more must be done to make testing accessible and equitable.

In February, Biden and Harris promised to address problems facing the disabled community related to COVID-19, including at-home testing and encouraging private companies to create accessible tests. While the ability to use an app may exclude some users who lack tactile or fine motor skills, it offers those with disabilities a convenient way to take the test.

Although there is a limited supply of tests, Mark Riccobono of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), said that it was good to see that the government is starting to address the concerns. The NFB will continue to advocate for and collaborate with organizations that provide testing options for blind people.

The number of accessible tests is limited. The United States Postal Service (USPS) urges only those who can’t use standard tests to request them. You can request a test online or by calling 1-800-232-0233. People who need additional help with disability issues can access the Disability Information and Access Line. You can call, text, or videophone at 888-677-1199.

Orders Should Move Faster This Time

In January, some tests were delayed because the administration was waiting for manufacturers to produce more. This time, there is no need to fret over the issue of scarcity. 

White House Testing coordinator, Tom Inglesby, said that the government would begin shipping immediately after the second round opens up. He stated that the Biden administration has an ample supply of new tests ready to be shipped, so orders should arrive quickly.

Additional COVID-19 Test Kits in the Mail

The coronavirus is driving up cases in parts of the country. Because of this reason, free and accessible tests will help slow its spread.

Here are some details about your order:

  • Orders will now include eight rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.
  • In two separate packages, your order will consist of eight tests, four in each package and with their tracking numbers.
  • Each package will be shipped to you free of charge.

You can order your test kit by clicking here.

How to Get Free COVID-19 Tests

You can order free test kits from the U.S. Postal Service by providing only a few bits of information. You don’t have to pay for the tests or shipping. 

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Visit the USPS website, or go directly to COVIDtests.gov.
  2. Provide your contact information and shipping details.
  3. Select “Check Out Now.”
  4. Ensure that your contact information is correct, and click “Place My Order.”

Orders will be shipped using the First Class Package service. If you cannot access the website or have trouble ordering online, you can call 800-232-0233.

Online Ordering

Remember the following when you order your free rapid antigen COVID-19 at-home tests:

  • Check the accuracy of your shipping and email addresses before completing your order. Once you place your order, it will be shipped to the address you provided during checkout.
  • Provide your email address to receive an order confirmation message and the tracking number by email.
  • If you have a P.O. box, use that virtual address for your order instead of your street address.
  • USPS expanded the eligibility for ordering to include CMRAs (commercial mail receiving agencies).
  • To sign up for email or text notifications about your package, enter the tracking number on USPS.com/tracking. You can order only one batch of four at-home COVID-19 tests.
  • There is no cost for the tests or shipping.
  • The test kits will be delivered to you without you having to sign for them.

Place Your Order for Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Residential U.S. households may order four free home-delivery tests from USPS.com. 

  • Residential customers are limited to one order per address.
  • Each order of rapid antigen COVID-19 tests includes four individual tests.
  • Free shipping began in late January 2022.

When Will the Test Kits Arrive?

Within 7 to 12 days of placing an order, you can expect USPS to deliver the test kits within 1 to 3 days.

How Can You Track Your Order?

After you place your order, check to see if you received a confirmation email. When you ship a package, the U.S. Postal Service will send emails to keep you informed of your status.

In the third round, you’re likely to receive two packages on different days, so look for two confirmation emails for your tracking number. To track your package, click the tracking link sent to you or paste the tracking number into the Postal Service’s website.

How Many Test Kits Can You Get?

In addition to the four free tests from your local post office, you can find other similar at-home COVID-19 tests for free. If you have private health insurance, each family member qualifies for eight free monthly tests.

Can You Choose Which Brand Test You Get?

The tests distributed through the program are all FDA-authorized, but you cannot choose which brand they receive.

At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Orders for free rapid COVID-19 tests delivered by USPS can be made on the web starting December 15, 2022. There’s a limit of one order per residential address. Each order contains four individual tests, shipped in a single package.

Take an At-⁠home Test

The following conditions should prompt you to take an at-home test immediately:

  • If you experience symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell
  • After you’ve come in contact with someone that is COVID-positive within at least five days
  • If you’re going to be with a group of people, mainly if they haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine or are immunocompromised

What if You Test Positive?

A positive home test means that the virus was detected in your sample, indicating a high probability of having COVID-⁠19. If you test positive for COVID-19, follow the latest CDC guidelines on minimizing the risk of spreading it.

Treatments for COVID-19 are now available. So, if you test positive and are at high risk for severe disease or have a weakened immune system, talk to your doctor about available treatment options. 

The Test-to-Treat program is one way to get treatment. Through the Test-to-Treat initiative, people can be tested for COVID-19, have an antiviral treatment prescribed by a healthcare provider if they test positive, and receive that prescription immediately.

What if You Test Negative?

A negative at-⁠home test result means the virus could not be found in your sample, and your risk of spreading COVID-⁠19 to others is lower. Check the directions on your test kit for the specific steps you need to take once you’ve tested negative.

Testing again within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests, is recommended if you test negative for COVID-19 initially. You can review the CDC’s latest guidance on self-testing.

How Long Are You Contagious After You Test Positive for COVID-19?

You are most likely to pass on infection during the first five days after you begin showing symptoms. You can also spread COVID-19 during the 48 hours before you experience symptoms. You are most likely to infect others five days after you test positive.

What if You Haven’t Received Your First or Second Batch of Test Kits?

The U.S. Postal Service said that your package has yet to be shipped if you haven’t received a tracking number. For more information about your order, call the USPS helpline with your order number: 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Is It OK to Use a Test Kit That Was Left Outside?

Manufacturers have ensured that the stability of tests remains consistent at various temperatures, even when shipping in hot and cold regions.

A test can be rendered useless if left outside in freezing temperatures or used immediately after being brought indoors from such temperatures. 

Rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits should be stored between 59°F and 86°F.

How Accurate Is the BinaxNOW Rapid Test Compared to PCR?

Compared with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, the BinaxNOW antigen testing’s sensitivity was lower when used on specimens from asymptomatic (35.8%) than from symptomatic (64.2%) persons. However, specificity remained high in both cases.

Where Can You Find a Location That Has At-Home Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests? 

You can buy COVID test kits from pharmacies and retail stores. Private health insurance plans may cover the cost of self-testing. For a list of authorized tests, visit FDA’s website.

Local health departments may offer free tests in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, and other states including Alaska and Hawaii. If you can’t get a self-test, visit a community testing site or your local health center.

Ordering and Troubleshooting

Check with your roommates or family members to see if they placed an order. Once an order has been placed for a valid residential address, test kit orders cannot be submitted again. This policy makes it possible for more people to take these tests and benefit from the results.

For more information about other testing options, search for COVID-19 testing sites or contact your local or state health department. Click here to make a service request.

Additional Support

  1. For more information about this government-sponsored initiative, check out https://www.covidtests.gov.
  2. For additional information and resources on COVID-19, visit the following:
  1. To find additional information about COVID-19 testing from your state or local health departments, click HHS COVID-19 Testing.
  2. If you cannot order online, search for other free COVID-19 testing sites at HHS COVID-19 Testing.
  3. For more information about the shelf life of free at-home COVID-19 tests, click List of Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests (fda.gov).

References:

  1. World Health Organization
    https://covid19.who.int/region/amro/country/us
  2. You can order free COVID tests from the government again
    https://www.npr.org/2022/03/07/1085022030/you-can-order-free-covid-tests-from-the-government-again
  3. USPS to send free, accessible at-home COVID tests to people who are blind or low-vision
    https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2022/06/24/usps-to-send-free-accessible-at-home-covid-tests-to-people-who-are-blind-or-low-vision
  4. Additional COVID-19 Test Kits in the Mail
    https://m.npmhu.org/media/news/additional-covid-19-test-kits-in-the-mail
  5. COVID TESTS
    https://www.uspis.gov/covidtests
  6. At-Home COVID-19 Tests
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/At-Home-COVID-19-Test-Kits#online_ordering
  7. PLACE YOUR ORDER FOR FREE AT-HOME COVID-19 TESTS – USPS
    https://ejfhc.org/health-info/place-your-order-for-free-at-home-covid-19-tests-usps/
  8. USPS Free COVID Tests: How to Order, When to Expect Shipments, and More
    https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/coronavirus/usps-free-covid-tests-how-to-order-when-to-expect-shipments-and-more/2743264/
  9. Get free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests this winter
    https://www.covid.gov/tests
  10. How long are you contagious when you have COVID-19?
    https://www.publichealthmdc.com/blog/how-long-are-you-contagious-when-you-have-covid-19#:~:text=You%20are%20most%20infectious%20(or,days%20after%20you%20test%20positive
  11. Haven’t gotten your free COVID tests in the mail yet? Here’s what you need to do
    https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/if-youre-still-waiting-for-your-free-federal-covid-rapid-tests-here-what-to-do/65-02c0aebd-5c9c-4025-a5c7-b888e4a7026a
  12. Evaluation of Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Test for SARS-CoV-2 Infection at Two Community-Based Testing Sites
    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7003e3.htm#:~:text=Sensitivity%20of%20the%20BinaxNOW%20antigen,persons%2C%20but%20specificity%20was%20high
  13. Self-Testing At Home or Anywhere
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/self-testing.html