Free COVID test kits are starting to arrive in the mail for Round 2. Here’s how to order yours – NBC Chicago

Free COVID test kits have started arriving again in many American homes after a second round of government tests were released earlier this month.

In his State of the Union remarks, President Joe Biden said that in addition to launching a new antiviral initiative, his administration would allow people in the United States to order another round of free tests from the government. Many of those who placed their orders when the tests became available in early March said they had received their second shipment.

Here’s what we know so far.

When will the new tests be available?

Now. Earlier this month, the Biden administration made four more free tests available to American households.

On March 7, the government’s website was updated with a message that “starting this week, every household in the United States will be able to order an additional set of 4 tests.”

How can you order the tests?

As with previous orders, COVID tests are available through COVIDTests.gov, which has sent more than 270 million free tests to nearly 70 million homes since its launch in mid-January.

How many tests can you pass?

This final round will allow each household another round of four tests.

What else is to come?

Biden used his State of the Union address to announce that his administration was launching a “test to treat” initiative to provide free antiviral pills at pharmacies to those who test positive for the virus.

An antiviral pill from Pfizer has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 by 90%. By the end of the month, according to the administration, 1 million pills will be available, with twice as many ready for use in April.

A White House official said the “test to treat” plan will initially be rolled out to hundreds of pharmacies across the country, including CVS, Walgreens and Kroger locations. Those who test positive at the sites will be able to obtain the antiviral pills on site for immediate use.

COVID-19 cases have fallen to their lowest level since last summer in recent weeks, after a winter spike in the highly transmissible omicron variant. Deaths, however, which are weeks behind cases, are still high, with an average of nearly 1,700 people dying in the United States every day. US officials point out that most cases of serious illness and death in the United States occur in people who have not been vaccinated or who have not received a booster dose of vaccines.

Earlier Tuesday, Biden extended 100% federal reimbursement of COVID-19 emergency response costs to states, tribes and territories through July 1, the White House announced Tuesday.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients told governors on a conference call that Biden approved expanding support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help continue FEMA-backed efforts. such as vaccination clinics, mass testing sites, and increasing hospital resources to deal with local case spikes.

“FEMA’s priority throughout the COVID-19 response has been to coordinate and provide the necessary resources and personnel needed by states, tribes and territories to adequately respond to the pandemic,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Today’s extension of 100% cost sharing through July 1, 2022 builds on our efforts to help affected communities at the state and federal levels.”

The extension in the first half of the year is a sign that the White House continues to see a need for federal resources in the fight against COVID-19 even as Biden tries to guide the country to live with it. the coronavirus as the number of cases decreases.

Christy J. Olson