Briefs

Postal Service offering four more free COVID-19 at-home tests

By: - November 23, 2023 5:05 am

A woman squeezing the sample liquid on a test strip while carrying out a Covid-19 rapid self test at home. (Photo by Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images)

U.S. residents can receive four free kits to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus which causes the COVID-19 disease.

You can place your order here. There are no shipping costs. You do not have to give a credit card number; you only need to give your name and address.

Those who need help or do not want to order online can call 1-800-232-0233 or text via teletypewriters at 1-888-720-7489.

The tests will ship after the holiday on the week of Nov. 27.

The majority of people who are infected do not show any symptoms. As one way of tracking where the virus is spreading, public health experts use test positivity, the proportion of tests taken that comes back positive in a given time period.

The latest data available from Nov. 16 shows 23% of tests taken in New Mexico came back positive, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. DOH officials have said most COVID tests are taken at home but there are still some health care providers in the state offering more accurate tests that are analyzed by laboratories.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday COVID-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations are increasing slightly.

The numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have spiked every year between November and April since the pandemic began in 2020, research has found.

This will be the first winter since the federal government stopped requiring private health insurance plans to pay for COVID-19 tests. The average price of an at-home test is $11, according to KFF Health News.

USPS previously gave out free tests in September. People who did not get that round of tests can get eight tests this time.

The government is only offering one order per household. As with previous test distributions, they do not allow multiple people living at the same address to order tests.

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Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.

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