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Federal government to offer free COVID-19 tests again

Each U.S. household will be eligible for up to four new COVID-19 tests, starting Sept 25 — but don't throw out those old tests just yet.
Federal government to offer free COVID-19 tests again
Posted at 2:50 PM, Sep 20, 2023

You will soon be able to place an order for free at-home COVID-19 tests. 

The federal government announced Wednesday that the program that offers up to four rapid tests per U.S. household will resume on Sept. 25.

This program was first launched in January 2022, when the omicron variant was spreading rapidly throughout the country. More than 40 million households used at least one kit ordered from, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those who still have older COVID-19 tests, the Food and Drug Administration recommends checking whether the expiration date on the box has been extended before throwing it out. 

The U.S. is a much different place than it was in January 2022. Federal health officials reported this year that at least 96% of people in the U.S. have at least some protection from the virus, either from previous infection or vaccine. 

SEE MORE: Major pharmacies announce when you can get the new COVID vaccines

While hospitalizations and deaths are still far below what they were during the height of the pandemic, the CDC reports an upward trend. Hospitalizations rose 7% in the last week, while deaths rose 4%, according to the CDC. 

Health officials are recommending that everyone 6 months or older get the updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against serious illness. The CDC notes that the updated vaccine protects against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the U.S.

SEE MORE: CDC signs off on latest COVID shot, clearing way for updated vaccines

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