American families can now order four additional Covid-19 checks home – with no value – through the federal government.
As of Monday, residential households in the United States can place an order through Covidtests.gov for four individual rapid COVID-19 antigen tests. Orders will begin shipping on November 27, according to USPS. People without an Internet connection can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to request checks.
The American authorities suspended the rapid check distribution program in early May, then reopened it in September. Residents who have not placed an order since the program reopened can place two orders, which can present eight checks in total, according to USPS.
The Covid-19 rapid checks will be carried out at home and can be used whether or not someone has symptoms. The controls are expected to operate until the end of the year; Some of the dates on the checks might indicate that they are expired, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended those dates.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Management and Prevention recommends that people get tested if they have Covid-19-like symptoms, including a sore throat, runny nose, lack of smell or taste, or fever. People may also need to check before attending a large event, such as a concert or conference, especially if people are not up to date on their vaccinations. There are antiviral drugs to combat Covid-19 and the flu, and the tests can also help decide which remedy is needed.
Hospital admissions and emergency room visits related to Covid-19 are on the rise again after only a few weeks of slowdown, according to the CDC. For the week ending November 11, the proportion of Covid-related emergency room visits was 1.4%, or just over 16,200 people – just like the rates seen throughout this month and last month.
Overall, outpatient visits for influenza-like illness are lower than they were currently last year, but higher than in the previous four seasons. CDC forecasts suggest this respiratory virus season will result in about the same number of hospitalizations as last season.
Seasonal flu exercise is also on the rise in most parts of the country, with flu-like exercise called excessive in New Mexico, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina , according to the CDC. There have been at least 780,000 illnesses, 8,000 hospitalizations and 490 deaths from the flu so far this season, the company estimates.
More than a third of adults and nearly a third of children have been vaccinated against the flu this year, according to CDC data. About 14% of adults and 5% of children have received the new Covid-19 vaccine, while 14% of people aged 60 and over have received the new RSV vaccine.
CNN’s Jen Christensen and Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.