The federal government began accepting orders Monday for free at-home COVID-19 tests.
Each U.S. household can request up to four rapid tests.
This program was first launched in January 2022, when the omicron variant was spreading rapidly throughout the country. More than 40 million households used at least one kit ordered from covid.gov/tests, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This time around, the tests can be requested through the same website. Those who may not have access to the internet or need assistance ordering can call 1-800-232-0233.
People who take the at-home tests do not have to share their results with the federal government, but they can voluntarily do so if they'd like to assist with public health reports.
The U.S. is no longer in a public health emergency due to COVID-19, but that doesn't mean the virus has gone away. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that hospitalizations are up 7% in the last week. Deaths related to COVID-19 are also up 12% over that same timespan.
While there's no evidence that the latest variants circulating in the U.S. are more dangerous than previous variants, health officials are still recommending that people get vaccinated.
The CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a COVID-19 vaccine, which is proven to be highly effective in protecting against severe illness and death.
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