Government’s free COVID test site to pause orders

A warning on said orders through the program would be suspended “because Congress has failed to allocate additional funds” to replenish supplies.

WASHINGTON — If you’re looking to stock up on at-home COVID-19 testing, this may be your last chance to order a batch for free from the government.

President Joe Biden pledged in January to make 1 billion tests available to Americans, including through

Initially, each US household could only place one order for the antigen rapid tests. The Biden administration later announced that a second and then a third round of orders were available, totaling up to 16 tests per household.

However, this program is coming to an end – at least for the time being.

“Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2, as Congress has failed to allocate additional funds to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests,” the website said in a warning, starting Friday.

RELATED: Fall COVID vaccines: Pfizer seeks OK for updated boosters

The Biden administration in March asked Congress for an additional $22.5 billion to buy vaccines and therapeutics to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases, but lawmakers turned down the price.

Free COVID-19 testing is also available through community testing sites and insurance reimbursement.

Ahead of the announcement, a senior administration official told USA TODAY anonymously that the program could resume if Congress made funds available, but the remaining tests would otherwise be held in reserve while officials prepare for the possible fall surge.

The official said the administration will use its “limited existing resources” to secure as many additional tests as possible.

The CDC recommends getting tested for COVID-19 immediately if you have symptoms. If you’re exposed to the virus but have no symptoms, the agency recommends waiting five days for a more accurate result.

As tests ordered through the government’s website take a while to arrive, they should be ordered in advance and held on hold for when you need them.

The Associated Press contributed to this. Government’s free COVID test site to pause orders

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