How do you get free COVID tests from the government? You can order online or with new hotline.

·3 min read

There's now a phone number to order free COVID-19 at-home testing kits from the government.

According to the new website that launched this week, Americans who have had difficulty ordering the tests online or "need additional support place an order," can call 1-800-232-0233 or TTY 1-888-720-7489.

The phone number also is the COVID vaccination hotline, which has been in use for several months.

The free tests anchor the Biden administration's testing reset as long lines and home test shortages have made it difficult for Americans to get checked for the highly contagious omicron variant that has ripped across the nation.

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“Should we have done more testing earlier? Yes, but we’re doing more now," President Joe Biden said Wednesday during a press conference, recapping his first year in office.

The home tests are meant to supplement the more conventional lab tests consumers get at testing sites, clinics or hospitals.

Some Americans living in apartment and condo buildings with multiple units at a single address have had their orders rejected this week, according to social media posts. The hotline could help those who run into these issues.

The White House also announced Wednesday that it will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers.

What is the phone number?

It is 1-800-232-0233 or TTY 1-888-720-7489.

When will COVID test kits ship?

The testing kits will start shipping the week of Jan. 24, according to the government website's frequently asked questions. Tests will typically ship within seven to 12 days of ordering.

The federal government website allows people to order four at-home tests per residence and have them delivered by mail.
The federal government website allows people to order four at-home tests per residence and have them delivered by mail.

Will USPS deliver the COVID tests in the mail?

Yes, these tests will be delivered in the mail through the U.S. Postal Service.

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Can I track my order?

Yes, you’ll also get an email with your order confirmation when placing the order on the website if you fill in your email address, which is optional. The site says you’ll receive email notifications with shipping updates, including estimated delivery date and a number to track on

Does USPS have additional support for more information on COVID tests?

Yes, you can learn more at a frequently asked questions page from USPS.

What COVID tests will be sent?

“All tests distributed as part of this program are FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests. You will not be able to choose the brand you order as part of this program,” the government says on its website.

What if I need more than four free COVID tests?

According to the frequently asked questions, four is currently the limit. “To promote broad access, the initial program will only allow 4 free individual tests per residential address.”

But you can get up to eight at-home tests a month for each person on your health insurance plan.

How can I get a free N95 mask?

Americans will be able to pick up free masks at one of "tens of thousands" of pharmacies, thousands of community centers and other locations across the country beginning late next week, the White House said Wednesday.

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Contributing: Ken Alltucker and Joey Garrison, USA TODAY

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID test kits: Phone number added to order free rapid at-home tests