Feds Offer Free COVID Tests, Masks

The Biden Administration began accepting requests for free at-home COVID-19 test kits on January 18, a day earlier than previously announced. In addition, the Administration will make 400 million free N95 masks available to Americans starting next week to help curb the spread of the disease.

Households may order up to four free tests at covidtests.gov regardless of the number of people living in the household. These rapid antigen tests provide results within 30 minutes and do not require lab testing like the more accurate PCR tests. The Administration will also allow citizens to order tests by phone soon.

One billion tests are available across the country and will start being delivered around the end of January. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have already visited the site to learn more about the program or order tests for their households.

As of Saturday, January 15, most people with a health insurance plan may now get similar over-the-counter COVID-19 tests free online or through a pharmacy. Consumers may not have to pay at the point of sale if their health plan provides for direct coverage; others may need to seek reimbursement from their insurer. Go here to learn more about getting tests covered through your insurer.

The Administration will provide 400 million free non-surgical N95 masks beginning next week, representing more than half of the 750 million masks stored in the Strategic National Stockpile. The total amount of N95 masks in the reserve has tripled over the past year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended the use of N95 masks and other well-fitting respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to get the best protection.

The U.S. currently averages more than 750,000 new COVID-19 daily infections, and Kentucky’s surge continues with a record-high positivity rate of 30.25% reported Tuesday. The CDC estimates that the Omicron variant caused 99.5% of new coronavirus cases last week throughout the country.