You can order your free Covid test kits now

January 18, 2022 • 11:30 am

Although American households were supposed to order their 4 free Covid test kits beginning tomorrow, reader Paul, quick to the mark, found out that you can order them NOW.

Just go to this site (or click on the screenshot below), and enter your name and address after pressing the blue button. Check out (no charge), and you’ll immediately get a confirmation email from the USPS.

The details (remember, rapid antigen tests aren’t usually accepted for international travel):

  • Limit of one order per residential address
  • One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • Orders will ship free starting in late January

DO IT NOW!  Thanks, Paul.

35 thoughts on “You can order your free Covid test kits now

  1. You only get 4 free?! Talk about stingy! Is that because you have no free health service? I am reliably told (by Jez) they are free in this bloody country (UK) but as I live alone & mix very little with other people I have not had one.

    1. Evening, yep, in the UK it is completely free, you just order them via the NHS and they are delivered to your home a day or two after.
      If you have symptoms a PCR test can also be ordered and it will be free as well.
      Of course any travel related tests have to be paid for and must be sampled by a professional before being analysed by an accredited personal or lab.

    2. You can also go on the NHS website and get a code that lets you pick up a pack from your local pharmacist…if they have any in stock, that is. Each pack contains seven tests, and you can order a pack a day, if you want.

      Self-administered tests are not acceptable for travel, but they’re useful to check your own status before going to a party (or ‘work event’, as we now call them).

      It may be worth getting a stockpile in now: the Government has said it intends to start charging for home test kits in the near future.

  2. Is there an expiration date? If ordered now, could the test kits be used next May, for example, should there be no need for testing in the meantime. Yes, 4 test kits per household seems stingy for larger households (mine has 5 people) and overly generous if ones household is one person. I haven’t paid close attention. Maybe households can reorder once the first order has been depleted.

    1. Expiration dates on the ones we have at home (no brand name as they are labelled with the NHS Test and Trace logo, but manufactured by Xiamen Biotime Biotechnology Co. Ltd. in China) go to March 2023 (two years from date of manufacture) if that helps?

  3. Remember you will need to use one to check yourself if you develop symptoms or have close contact with someone who is positive and each person in your household will need one if you test positive. If you test positive, You also might want to reserve one for 5-7 days later after symptoms go away (assuming you are fully vaxxed and boosted getting a mild case) to see if you still positive just for your own comfort. So in general four tests is a good, but minimal supply. I am not a physician, but this is just based on my experience with a mild case a couple of weeks ago.

  4. Thanks! And I am closely following advice here (and I will research best methods for use).
    There was a comment here earlier that people should carefully read the rather exacting instructions when you get the kit, so that you can better follow them while you are sick. It being harder to comprehend instructions while in a brain fog.

    1. Yes mark. That was my comment the other day. “Exacting” is a good description of instructions-not complicated but exacting. I had not read the instructions ahead of time, but, luckily for me, my wife/caregiver is a retired nurse who, as I got a bit frustrated, simply took control and everything worked out fine. There are youtube examples available, but while the general process is the same for all, each brand of test may have subtle specific differences from the video example.

  5. Thanks for the heads up, I ordered ours! I guess they had to limit the number, but 4 tests per residential address is not a lot. Many addresses will have more people living there. Then again, at least for us, these are not the only free rapid tests available. Schools are handing them out to students, the county is doing it at libraries.

    Good point about expiration dates. The ones we recently received are valid until June this year.

  6. I ordered them just now. I just took a home rapid test because my wife tested positive this morning. I tested negative.

  7. Done.

    My thoughts on Omicron and the pandemic generally:

    Omicron is a good thing (overall; some localities are surely going to suffer and some unvaccinated people will die needlessly):

    – Much less virulent (I’m hearing of approx. 10X fewer hospitalizations and deaths, compared to Delta and “COVID 1.0”.)
    – Very, very transmissible: It will sweep the population extremely rapidly (hence the near-vertical case-count curves of late.
    – Cross-immunity good for all variants/vaccines (so far).

    Hence, my prognosis: It will only a short while and everyone will be either: Vaccinated, have had COVID-19 and recovered, or be dead.

    Minnesota officials are reporting that group-care facilities are having much lower severe illness and death rates compared to, especially, COVID 1.0.

    I know many people locally (Minnesota is an extreme hotspot) who are fully vaccinated and boosted and have tested positive on return from holiday travel. They either “have a cold” or no symptoms at all.

    My son’s school district is not going back to distance learning, and I think that is appropriate. The teachers and staff are all vaccinated (or are refuseniks). The kids have almost zero chance of serious illness (and most are vaccinated as well). Families have the option (AFIAK) of distance if they have special circumstances.

    I think we will see the back side of this by spring and — barring a variant that defeats the vaccines and natural immunity — it will be endemic, rather than pandemic, and will be be in seasonal (or otherwise periodic) booster territory, much like seasonal flu.

    We need to remember that the efficacy measures for the vaccines are: Prevention of serious illness (hospitalization) and death. This seems to clearly be playing out. Vaccinated or previously ill people are getting sick (or just testing positive) and transmitting the virus. They just aren’t heaving serious trouble. This is all very good.

    Recall that the justification for all the initial lockdowns, etc. was preventing the collapse of the medical system. The people clogging the system now (by all of the reports I’ve heard) all unvaccinated people, almost without exception (there are always exceptions). And the others are people with significant co-morbidities or compromised immune systems.

    If Voldemort the Stupid hadn’t politicized this, we’d already be done, probably, and far fewer people would have died (and be dying now).

    1. I read that Pfizer is making a vaccine that targets Omicron, but Omicron might be mitigated by the time the vaccine is created. Eventually, I’m sure the vaccines will be a mixture of strains, like the flu vaccines.

          1. Flu and mRNA: Never before; but maybe they can do it now? Or maybe they are willing to now, after proof of concept for COVID?

            Seems like it might be a fruitful avenue of study. Maybe they could include mRNA for all the various hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins?

    2. Nice synopsis. Thanks.
      We tried making rapid tests available for free. What happened was the sharp-elbowed people hoovered them up and started selling them on line. Now you can’t find any self-tests for love or money. Drug stores are doing them on site for $40.

      Here in Ontario, the rapid rise in cases around New Year’s Day so quickly overwhelmed testing capacity that we are no longer testing people except those at high risk. Before testing collapsed, the attack rate per 100,000 among vaccinated people was much higher than among the un-vaxxed — all that vaccine-encouraged socializing I guess. It is so contagious that many older, frailer people have needed hospital admission even though vaccinated. (These older people were vaccinated first, around March or so in Canada, and so have waning immunity. Third doses were fumbled and most didn’t get them in time to reduce their risk of serious illness from Omicron.) Hospital admissions have surged, far higher than our first three waves and most are vaccinated. About half were admitted for other reasons but are then found to have Covid. This means less than it seems because if an old person from a nursing home — apparently half the care homes in the province have outbreaks — is admitted for delirium and dehydration, did Covid cause it or is it just along for the ride? Hospital census seems about to peak: the second derivative has been negative for several days.
      The really sick patients in ICU, on ventilators, are nearly all unvaccinated but those, too, seem to be about to peak well short of provincial catastrophe. Length of stay in the ICU is said to be shorter for unvaccinated Omicron (6 days) then it was for unvaccinated Alpha and Delta (4-6 weeks with a long right tail.)

      Our circumstances are politicized too. Because our 100% government-funded system is operated deliberately with little surge capacity — an empty bed means a nurse isn’t working hard enough — the slightest blip in cases prompts aggressive control measures: schools went to on-line learning for two weeks (they are back in class this week) and gatherings (restaurants, concerts, in-home socializing) are closed down again. (So much for the value of vaccination certificates launched against great controversy in the fall.) The government takes all the heat for any failure in “The World’s Best Health Care System” (TM) and so has to micromanage the capacity limits in a hardware store against the possibility that someone might die after a car crash because the ICU is full of unvaccinated Covid patients. Scheduled surgery is toast again.

      We are profoundly, desperately, hopeful that this is the end of the pandemic. The idea that we would do this every winter for all respiratory disease combined (as Ezekiel Emmanuel was proposing) is just too disheartening to contemplate..

  8. I do not plan to order any. I am triple jabbed. I have not stopped wearing a mask in public the whole time and have recently switched to N95’s. I do not plan to get on a plane, not so much because of omicron but because of all the crazies. I do not care for an at risk elder. So unless I plan to do any travelling etc. why would I test at home? Ooops, I have the sniffles, better test. I’m negative. Better test again just to be sure. Test again. Test again!! I know many in the health field. One that works in an ED says that everyone that comes into the ED regardless of reason, EVERYONE is positive. I suspect that I may test positive even given all my precautions. There’s a difference between “testing” positive for covid vs “having” covid, IMO.

    1. I do not think you want to mess with this virus and allow it to possibly develop into its later stages. You have done the most important and effective action….getting fully vaccinated. Please take the small extra step to be able to at-home test if you develop a fever. A positive test will focus some immediate attention on knocking that fever down, maybe having your doc access some monoclonals for you and stopping the disease in its tracks.

      1. Thanks for your concern! If I develop symptoms I will be seeing my doctor who in all likelihood would be testing me again, perhaps with a rapid test and then maybe even via PCR.

  9. As chance would have it . . ., I think I’ve got a bit of a fever I’m just beginning to feel this afternoon. Should be no real worries as I’m fully vaccinated and boosted.

    1. Good luck there! I get allergies, so every time I rummage in the basement or search a closet for missing shoes, I come away with strong sniffles and the Chicken Little worry: Do I have The ‘Rona?

      1. lol, yeah. Looks like a false alarm. Self test was negative. Might do another today. Not worried for myself but if I do get it I should quarantine myself per current recommendations.

  10. Just tried to order the tests. I was informed by the USPS that tests had already been ordered for my address and that no more can be sent. Neither of the two occupants of the address sent an order. So, for us, this new testing program is off to a bad start.

    1. Might be something it doesn’t like about the address. Or perhaps someone not in your home entered their address incorrectly and it happens to match yours. Of course, if that happened then you’ll get their tests! LOL

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