COVID

Federal website for rapid tests goes live a day early

The website requires that Americans provide their name and address to receive the tests.

Rapid at-home Covid-19 test kits in Chelsea, Massachusetts. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images


Some Americans are able to order free rapid tests from a federal website beginning Tuesday, ahead of the site’s official launch Wednesday.

The website, covidtests.gov, is operating at limited capacity Tuesday to ensure a smooth launch Wednesday, a White House official said.

“This is standard practice to address troubleshooting and ensure as smooth an official launch tomorrow as possible,” the official said, adding the site would launch midmorning Wednesday.

The website requires that Americans provide their name and address to receive the tests. The government purchased 500 million rapid tests that will be available to every household and will limit the number of tests sent to each address to four tests. Some people were able to successfully order the tests Tuesday.

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The White House said tests would ship within 7 to 12 days of Americans ordering them, a timeline that probably means people will not receive them until two or more weeks after placing their orders. Experts say that is probably too late to make a significant dent in the current omicron surge but added that the tests will be useful for the many parts of the country that have yet to experience the peak of the outbreak.

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