The Biden administration is doing its part to continue the fight against rising cases of COVID-19. NBC News reported that starting Sept. 25, 2023, people can have COVID-19 tests mailed to their homes.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will reopen its website for households to order up to four free tests delivered to their homes. As COVID cases increase, people realize the tests secured during the height of the pandemic may be outdated.
The free test program includes a $600 million investment in domestic manufacturers of COVID-19 tests. Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell says the investment also creates jobs. “Manufacturing COVID-19 tests in the United States strengthens our preparedness for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, reduces our reliance on other countries, and provides good jobs to hardworking Americans,” she said.
Per The Washington Post, officials said the funding would improve domestic manufacturing capacity along with leaving the federal government with 200 million over-the-counter tests to use, if needed, in the future.
“These critical investments will strengthen our nation’s production levels of domestic at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help mitigate the spread of the virus,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
The first round of free tests ended in June. To learn if the expiration dates have been extended, check on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. The new distributed tests will include instructions on how to look up extended expiration dates.
Officials have found that free home testing is an effective way for people to check their status before engaging in large crowds or spending time with vulnerable patients such as the elderly. If a person tests positive, at-home testing allows them to start treatments early to prevent a more serious disease.
New tests will be able to detect the new EG.5 variant, which has peaked in the past few weeks. Since July 2023, hospital admissions have been on the rise, surpassing 20,000 as of Sept. 9. However, there has been a slight decline in emergency room visits.
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