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Did you know you can get a third round of COVID-19 test kits? You can order the free at-home rapid antigen tests via COVID.gov/tests. This shipment contains eight test kits but they are sent in two packages – for example I received one package on Saturday and another on Monday. You’ll get double the number of kits from the previous two rounds, each of which offered four kits.
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It takes less than 2 minutes to order your tests and in my experience they ship pretty quickly. Below is how to get more test kits, when they will arrive and what to do if you have problems.
How to get free COVID-19 tests
All you have to do is give the postal service a little information to get your free test kits. You will not be asked for credit or debit card details as both testing and shipping are free. Here’s how to get your free test kits.
1. Visit special.USPS.com/testkits. You can also get there via covidtests.gov.
2. Enter your contact and shipping information.
3. click Check out now.
4. Check that your information is correct and choose place my order.
All orders are shipped via First Class Package Service.
People who can’t access the site or have trouble ordering online can call a hotline — 800-232-0233 — to order their free trials.
How can I track my order?
Once you have placed your order you should receive a confirmation email. When your package ships, you’ll receive email notifications with shipping updates, including a tracking number and estimated delivery date. Note that for the third round you will receive two packages that will likely arrive on different days, so look for two confirmation emails with your tracking numbers.
Once you receive it, you can either click on the tracking link or copy and paste the tracking number into the postal service’s website tracker.
How many test kits can I get?
According to the USPS, each household is entitled to three rounds of free rapid at-home COVID-19 tests for a total of 16 kits.
Only one person per address can order the free tests – even if several people live in your household.
Can I choose which brand test I get?
No, there is no option to choose which test brand you will receive. All tests are rapid antigen tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration like iHealth.
When are the test kits coming?
Tests are typically shipped within seven to 12 days of a successful order and are delivered by the USPS within one to three days of shipment.
What happens if I haven’t received my first or second batch of test kits?
The USPS says its website has had some trouble recognizing certain residential addresses, particularly apartment buildings, multi-family homes, and apartments connected to commercial properties.
If you have trouble placing an order, you can submit a service request online or call the USPS Helpdesk at 800-ASK-USPS.
Is it ok to use a test kit that was left outside?
According to the FDA, manufacturers have ensured that the tests remain stable at different temperatures, “including shipping in summer to very hot regions and in winter to very cold regions.”
However, a test can be affected if left outside in freezing temperatures or used immediately after being brought indoors from freezing temperatures.
The ideal temperature for storing Antigen COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits is between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
To ensure adequate performance on a test delivered at freezing temperatures, bring the package inside and allow it to sit unopened at room temperature for at least two hours before opening.
“As long as the test line[s] appear as described in the instructions, you can be assured that the test is working as it should,” according to the FDA website.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.