WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will launch a website on Wednesday where Americans can order up to four free COVID-19 test kits per person, according to a senior administration official.
The tests, part of the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to help combat a record rise in infections, will be available on COVIDTest.gov and mailed to homes within 7 to 12 days, according to the official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the announcement.
President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that the administration would double down on its order with the purchase of an additional 500 million COVID-19 home tests amid a nationwide testing shortage that has resulted in long lines. waiting at test sites and overcrowded hospitals. The second batch of test kits will also be distributed free of charge through the federal website, officials said.
The administration has so far purchased more than 420 million of the first test order and is working to finalize contracts for the remaining 80 million, an official said.
The White House also plans to launch a hotline to help those unable to access the website place orders and will work with state and local community organizations to respond to requests from the hardest hit and most vulnerable communities. risk, officials said.
In addition to the free tests available on the website, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home tests per month for people through their insurance plans from Saturday. Americans will either be able to purchase tests for free through their insurance or submit receipts for reimbursement.
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The president is also expected to announce next week what steps he is taking to make high-quality masks freely available, but details on how these would be distributed are still unclear.
The White House’s latest effort comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations set new records, with some hospitals delaying elective surgeries while states deploy National Guard members to health care facilities.
The White House is also sending military medical teams to New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico to help deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases.
About 1 in 5 hospitals reported having “critical staffing shortages” in data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a USA TODAY analysis. One in 4 forecast critical shortages over the next week.