/ Daria Nipot

Free COVID tests are back and were just made available today. The tests will be able to detect a new strain of the virus, which has now been reported in several U.S. states. You are able to request four free rapid antigen tests, and they are intended for use through the end of 2023, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). There will also be instructions on how you can verify expiration dates on the tests you may already have at home because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the dates had been extended from what the packaging shows.

COVID symptoms include fever, sneezing, body aches, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, and possible loss of taste and smell.

COVID hospitalizations have been increasing in the last few weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 20,538 hospitalizations in the U.S. from September 3-9, about an 8 percent increase from the previous week, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 tracker.

The free test kit program ended earlier this year when the COVID public health emergency was lifted in May. Last week, the Biden Administration announced $600 million in funds given to 12 companies to produce 200 million test kits.

To order free at-home COVID-19 tests, go to, and fill in your contact information and shipping address. If you have trouble ordering online, call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). There is a limit of one order per residential address. Tests will ship for free via USPS starting the week of October 2.

If you purchase an over-the-counter COVID-19 test from a pharmacy, store or online retailer, keep your receipt and submit a claim to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. You can also go to select facilities to get free COVID testing.

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