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Another Round of Free COVID-19 Tests

September 21, 2023

The federal government plans to make another round of free COVID-19 tests available starting next week.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $600 million investment across U.S. domestic test manufacturers to ensure the next round of free tests is available ahead of the upcoming respiratory illness season.

“These critical investments will strengthen our nation’s production levels of domestic at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help mitigate the spread of the virus,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Here’s what you need to know about at-home tests:

  • Background:  This will be the fifth round of free tests available via the federal government’s online portal. To date, the program has directly distributed more than 755 million tests to more than two-thirds of U.S. households.
  • Where to order:  Starting Monday, you’ll be available to order another four free tests per household via the federal website.
  • When to test:  It’s a good idea to take a COVID-19 test if you begin having symptoms, are gathering with a group of people (especially those who are high risk or not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines), or are at least five days removed from close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19.
  • Reporting your results:  The end of the public health emergency has curtailed daily case reporting. You can report your at-home test results online to help better track the real-time spread of the virus.
  • Expiration dates:  The federal government has updated a summary about at-home test expiration dates. Check to see if your at-home tests can be used after the expiration date.

The federal government awarded funding to 12 domestic COVID-19 test manufacturers, including $5.7 million to Pennsylvania-based OraSure Technologies.

“Manufacturing COVID-19 tests in the United States strengthens our preparedness for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, reduces our reliance on other countries, and provides good jobs to hardworking Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell.

Additional information about the federal government’s at-home test program is available online.