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UPDATE

The government has launched its website that allows Americans to order free at-home COVID tests a day earlier than anticipated. The website CovidTests.gov is now live and the ordering process is very easy. 

All you have to do is click the "Order Free At-Home Tests" button and then enter your name and shipping address. Then you place your order and just like that you're done. 

After ordering, a message reads: "COVID-19 tests will start shipping in late January. USPS will only send one set of 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests to valid residential addresses."

Original story

Beginning Jan. 19, every home in the United States can sign up to receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government. 

The tests will be available for request at CovidTests.gov. The site currently says ordering begins Jan. 19, in addition to this message: 

"Every home in the U.S. can soon order four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests will be completely free — there are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number."

Tests will ship for free 7-12 days after ordering, according to the White House. 

The four free tests are for each residential address, not per person living at the address. If the four free tests aren't enough for a household, private health insurance companies are now mandated to cover the cost of at-home tests

The White House announced on Jan. 14 the Biden Administration was purchasing 1 billion at-home rapid tests to supply to Americans. The decision came after months of the demand greatly outweighing the supply of at-home tests. 

And while there are dozens of free public testing sites around Minnesota, getting test results in a timely manner has become difficult with the extremely high number of people getting tested amid the omicron surge. 

To reduce the strain on the system, some healthcare providers have stopped testing asymptomatic patients and anyone who has tested positive within 90 days. 

Note: It's unclear what brand of tests the federal government is sending. 

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