Free Covid tests will be available to order from government again starting next week

Starting next week, people will be able to once again request four free Covid tests from the government, the Biden administration said Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services said that it is reopening its website on Sept. 25. Households can order the tests to be delivered to their homes, free of charge.

The announcement comes as Covid cases rise in the United States — and as many people are realizing the tests they’ve long had on hand have expired. It may be prudent to check the expiration date on the newly ordered tests when they arrive, however. Last year, there were reports of people receiving tests very close to their expiration date.

People can check whether the expiration date on their tests have been extended on the Food and Drug Administration's website. The mailed tests will also include instructions on how to look up extended expiration dates.

The restarting of the free Covid test program was announced alongside a $600 million investment in 12 domestic manufacturers of Covid tests.

“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,” Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get tested immediately if they have Covid symptoms, or within five days if they've been exposed to someone with Covid.

The Biden administration first started mailing free Covid tests to people in January 2022 amid the first omicron surge. The program returned last winter. will remain online through the end of the year.

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