The government website where you can order free COVID-19 tests is up and running, and every American home is eligible to receive four at-home tests. It’s a simple process — except when it’s not.
If you want to order your tests there, visit www.covidtests.gov, click on the blue “Order Free At-Home Tests” button, and it will take you to a page on the US Postal Service’s website where you fill out your name and address. No payment is necessary, so you don’t need a credit card or health insurance information. Your tests should ship within seven to 12 days of placing the order, according to the website.
But what if you encounter problems? For example, since the site launched, the US Postal Service has received some reports of people in multi-unit buildings having trouble ordering tests.
“That is something we are continuing to work on,” said Dave Partenheimer, a spokesman for the US Postal Service. “The Postal Service is seeing very limited cases of addresses that are not registered as multi-unit buildings, which could lead to COVID test kit ordering difficulties. This is occurring in a small percentage of orders.”
The issue was brought up Friday during the administration’s COVID-19 response press briefing.
“I want to clarify that almost every resident in an apartment is able to order a test,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said at Friday’s briefing. “US Postal Service is seeing a very limited number of cases where addresses that are not registered as multi-unit buildings within its database, and they’re working to fix that issue or help people through that process.
“And as we work through the issue, people can fill out a service request on the website,” he added. “Or you can call the hot line on the USPS United States Postal Service website to get the issue fixed.”
Other technical issues have arisen as well.
Some people have said that their address came up as a commercial site when they tried to order the tests, which can only be sent to residential addresses. Others have had trouble validating their address at all.
Anyone who runs into problems in the ordering process should file a service request with the US Postal Service at https://emailus.usps.com/s/the-postal-store-inquiry or contact the agency’s help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS to address any issues, Partenheimer said.
Anyone who has difficulty accessing or using the website can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).
You can track your order by entering an e-mail address. Once your order is shipped, you’ll receive an e-mail with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. You can check the status of your delivery on USPS.com and receive notifications with shipping updates.
The tests are limited to four per household (that’s one order per residential address). Each rapid antigen test gives results within 30 minutes, and no lab drop-off is required.
The site went live on Tuesday when it was still in its beta, or testing, phase, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, and officially launched Wednesday. The first tests started shipping out on Thursday, officials said.
Millions of Americans have been visiting the website (www.covidtests.gov) to place orders. As of Friday the site had been visited more than 68 million times, according to Google Analytics.