More free COVID-19 tests can be ordered now as uptick looms

Americans can now order another round of four free COVID-19 tests for this season, the U.S. Postal Service announced Monday, as health officials prepare for an expected resurgence of the virus in the coming weeks.

The four additional tests will ship free starting the week of November 27, USPS says.

How to order more free COVID tests

Tests can be ordered online at or through the Postal Service webpage – like the previous round of free tests offered in September. If you need assistance or do not wish to order online, you can call 1-800-232-0233 or 1-888-720-7489 for a TTY.

Households who have not ordered their first batch of four free tests after orders reopened earlier this fall will be able to place two orders with USPS, for a total of eight free rapid antigen COVID-19 testing.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is providing the tests from its stockpile of previously purchased kits, said last week that 56 million tests had been delivered so far this season. That’s about 14 million U.S. households that have requested testing.

Federal health officials have urged Americans to continue using COVID-19 tests to reduce the risk of spreading the virus this holiday season, alongside other precautions such as vaccination and masking.

COVID-19 tests can also help people determine whether they need treatment. Pfizer Paxlovid, a drug treatment that can help prevent more serious symptoms. The drug remains available as it transitions to the private market this month.

The new test kits come as health authorities take a close look at virus tracking data, with cases expected to increase this winter.

After weeks of COVID-19 trends slowing or stagnating, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that some indicators — emergency room visits and hospitalizations — had begun to increase “slightly” nationally.

COVID-19 still accounts for the largest share of emergency room visits for viral respiratory illnesses nationwide, according to CDC figures, even though flu and RSV trends have accelerated in recent weeks.

“I hope you’re still wearing masks when you need to, I hope you’re getting this updated vaccine,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told a group of public health organizations on Wednesday.

Becerra said he recently returned from a cross-country flight with his 90-year-old mother.

“There weren’t many people in masks, but we were, thank God. She was actually the one who took the mask out first and reminded me because the last thing I need is that she got COVID on Thanksgiving,” Becerra said. .

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