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You can order free covid tests from the federal government today, one day early

USPS Mail Truck OneThe website, covidtests.gov, where Americans can order four free covid-19 tests is up and running Tuesday, one day early.

To help ensure people have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid covid-19 tests.

More than 700,000 people accessed the website, which was launched in a beta phase, Tuesday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said launching a website in a beta phase is a standard part of the process as it’s being tested in the early stages of being rolled out. The website will officially launch Wednesday Jan. 19.

Tests will typically ship within seven to 12 days of ordering. The U.S. Postal Service will package and deliver tests. Priority for shipping will be given to communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of covid-19 cases and deaths.

A call line to help those unable to access the website to place orders also will be available.

In addition to this program, there are more than 20,000 free testing sites across the nation, including at pharmacies and community centers.

And starting Jan. 15, private health insurance companies will be required to cover at-home covid-19 tests for free. Check with your insurance company to see if you can be reimbursed for tests you’ve already purchased. Be sure to keep your receipts, and boxes, too, in case your insurance company asks for both for proof of purchase.

It’s great that the federal government is finally making covid tests widely available. It should have been done much earlier. People need to know if they’re infected so they can isolate, especially since the omicron variant is so contagious.

Since the public policy seems to be to try to keep businesses open so the economy can continue to operate and the stock market doesn’t crash again, people need to be as safe as possible in the dangerous pandemic times when they go outside of their homes.

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