Tuesday, May 17, 2022

U.S.: Third Round Of Free At-Home COVID Tests Now Available



With the rise of the BA.2.12.1 variant in the United States (estimated at 47.5% in today's CDC Nowcast), we are also seeing reports of increasing COVID infections once again.  And with the ECDC Elevating  BA.4 and BA.5 to VOC last Friday, there is the possibility of seeing another wave in the  fall. 

While Omicron infections (at least in the vaccinated) tend to be milder, it is still important to know if you are infected. 

Last January the U.S. government announced that all American households were eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID test kits, and a 2nd round of 4 test kits was offered in March.   Yesterday the government website offering these kits announced a 3rd round of (8) test kits could now be ordered.  

While you may have unused kits lying around the house, you should be aware these kits have an expiration date of about 5 months after manufacture (my 1st 4 expire in July, and the 2nd 4 are supposedly good until August).  

How long they remain accurate after their expiration date probably depends (in part) on how they were stored, but it makes sense to get new ones for this fall. 

If you never ordered the first or second round of kits, you will be given an opportunity to order those as well. Now is also a good time to replenish your supplies of N95 or KN95 face masks, restock any OTC cold/flu medications, and discuss with family or friends becoming a `Flu Buddy'.

While we may hope the worst of the pandemic has passed, it won't hurt to go into the summer prepared.