People Who Live In Apartments Are Running Into Glitches While Trying To Order Their COVID Tests Through USPS, And I'm Genuinely Wondering If This Process Had To Be So Complicated

·4 min read

In case you missed it, the federal government has teamed up with USPS to send every household in America four free antigen rapid at-home COVID tests.

An open COVID-19 testing kit

In addition to providing these rapid at-home tests, the government has also mandated that health insurers must cover the costs of up to eight rapid at-home tests for each insured individual per month.

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Given that a) we're in the middle of the Omicron surge and b) tests are rather hard to come by right now, this is a major move.

A sign saying COVID tests are out of stock on the window of a CVS pharmacy
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Even though the program should take away some of the stress surrounding finding a COVID test, it isn't without its glitches.

The United States Postal Service webpage where you can order a COVID test

People have taken to Twitter to share their qualms with the system.

Some have noted that those who live in apartments are having issues while placing their orders, often getting a message that reads "At home COVID-19 tests have already been ordered for this address."

Julian Randall, who lives in a two-flat apartment in Chicago, tweeted about his struggles when it came to ordering his four free tests.

Julian said he tried several of the solutions people had offered in the reply tweets, but none of them worked in his situation.

One of the most commonly suggested potential fixes for this issue is to type your apartment number on the street address line instead of the apartment/suite number line.

Julian turned to USPS's customer service line, which he compared to navigating a maze.

"I live alone, have no children, and I'm an author of middle grade novels, so I work remotely and on my own hours," Julian said. "Even still, me having to correct a massive design flaw in this rollout took up an hour I simply didn't have to give. If it's this difficult for someone in my circumstances to get hold of a test, how does it affect others?"

Julian also noted that he had been noticing a lot of people expressing guilt for placing orders for tests.

USPS told BuzzFeed that they are aware of this issue and are currently working on addressing it.

"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," USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer said.

This flaw in the system is drawing a lot of criticism and is raising points about the ways people who live apartments, dorms, or multigenerational dwellings are being frozen out by this initiative.

While some have pointed out some possible solutions USPS could consider implementing, it still does not account for people who do not have permanent addresses or the amount of people who live at a given address.

If you're running into any issues with ordering tests, Partenheimer suggests filing an online customer service claim with USPS or calling 800-232-0233.

A USPS mailbox
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Have you ordered your tests yet? If you've had any issues with ordering, were you able to get them resolved?