Free COVID tests are disappearing, federal government says

Get your free COVID tests while you can. Citing a lack of funding, the federal government says that starting Friday, you will no longer be able to order through its free at-home COVID-19 testing site.

The federal government launched its site, covidtests.gov, in January. Originally, each household could request an order of four tests. In May, White House officials expanded orders to three per household, with each order containing four rapid antigen tests. Tests are usually shipped within 12 days, according to the White House.

For help placing an order, call 800-232-0233 (daily 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PST). In some cases, addresses may not be recognized as houses or multifamily units. If there is a problem because you believe an order has already been placed with your address, contact USPS at 800-275-8777 or file a service request at emailus.usps.com/s/the-postal- store inquiry.

It was not immediately clear if there would be a change to the state’s free testing program. As of Monday morning, tests could still be ordered through Washington State’s COVID testing website. New orders can be placed each month.

Kits should arrive about one to two weeks after ordering, depending on the site. In some parts of the state, residents also have the option of getting tested locally, but people are urged to call their local health department first to check.

Rapid test expiration dates have been extended a few times, so older tests may still be good to use. The shelf lives of the popular iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test and BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test have been extended by 12 months and 15 months, respectively, by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

For a full list of tests and information on expiration dates, visit st.news/COVIDexpiration.

Navigating the Pandemic

Staff reporter Amanda Zhou contributed to this report.

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