The federal government will begin distributing half a billion home tests for COVID-19 starting on Wednesday, Jan. 19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend Americans use at-home tests if they begin to have symptoms, at least five days after coming in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or are gathering indoors with a group of people who are at risk of severe disease or unvaccinated.
The federal government is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free, with a half-billion tests becoming available on Jan. 19.
The initial program will allow four free tests to be requested per residential address. The tests are available online at COVIDTests.gov. The government says tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering.
The federal government will also launch a call line to help those unable to access the website to place orders, and work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests.
According to whitehouse.gov, there are over 20,000 free testing sites across the nations.
Private health insurance companies are also required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free—and made an additional 10 million COVID-19 tests available to schools nationwide, each month.
President Joe Biden said he also intends to make high quality masks available to the public, but has yet to make an official announcement.
The news comes as COVID-19 cases—powered by the omicron variant—continue to soar across America.
According to the most recent state report, 13,942 new cases were reported on Friday, Jan. 14, with a positivity rate of 28.61 percent. So far, 12,518 Kentuckians have died, with 35 new deaths reported on Friday.
For more information on COVID-19 across Kentucky, visit online at kycovid19.ky.gov.
Locally, the Mercer County Health Department reported 75 new cases on Friday, with 423 active cases and three hospitalizations. There are on average 46.4 cases per day. So far, there have been 95 deaths in Mercer County since the beginning of the pandemic, with 38 deaths recorded since July 1, 2021, according to the health department.
For more information on COVID-19 across Mercer County, visit health-mercercounty.ky.gov.
Currently, 55.9 percent of Mercer residents are fully vaccinated. Call 859-734-4522 to schedule a vaccination.