A day forward of the scheduled rollout of free COVID-19 tests distributed by the Biden administration, some Individuals are already putting orders for his or her free deliveries by way of a form posted by the U.S. Postal Service.
The White Home introduced final week that it will publicly launch the location covidtests.gov on Wednesday. Nonetheless, some early guests to the web site Tuesday morning had been already capable of see a button to order their free exams — a restricted rollout that seems to have been expanded to extra guests later Tuesday afternoon.
“It is going to formally launch tomorrow morning. It is within the beta testing part proper now,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.
Public curiosity within the website is already surging, leaving all different authorities web sites far behind, in line with information that tracks traffic to government sites. By early Tuesday afternoon, greater than 500,000 customers had been visiting the take a look at web site.
The web site is working at “restricted capability,” a White Home official mentioned in an announcement, as the federal government works to troubleshoot potential points forward of its formal launch Wednesday.
An announcement added to the web page on Tuesday afternoon mentioned the administration has “exams for each residential tackle within the U.S.” and urged Individuals to “test again tomorrow should you run into any surprising points.”
Each family is eligible to order 4 speedy antigen COVID-19 tests without cost, to be delivered by the Postal Service, which is able to start transport exams in late January.
Some Individuals had been already capable of order free at-home COVID-19 exams by way of the White Home’s program earlier this week, which granted precedence entry by way of a portal launched with the Nationwide Affiliation of Group Well being Employees for folks residing in “high-risk” zip codes.
“Orders might be prioritized for equitable distribution primarily based on communities which might be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the NACHW’s web site says.
The White Home also says it plans to launch a hotline that may permit Individuals to order their very own exams over the cellphone, if they’ve issue ordering on the web site.
The administration says that its four-test restrict was imposed “to advertise broad entry” to this system. It has additionally launched different efforts — together with a requirement for non-public insurers to cowl the price of over-the-counter at-home exams — to assist develop the distribution of wanted exams.
Federal well being officers have expressed confidence within the Postal Service’s capacity to collect orders for exams and accommodate a attainable surge in demand.
“We did not begin from scratch. The Postal Service is a vital accomplice right here. They have already got a web site that does promote items to the general public and has for fairly a while,” an administration official advised reporters at a White Home briefing last week.
Orders of the COVID-19 exams might be delivered without cost through first-class mail. Regardless of anecdotal experiences of delayed shipments hampered by winter storms and COVID-19 outbreaks, the U.S. Postal Service claimed last week that 90% of first-class mail was delivered on time through the first week of January.
“The 650,000 ladies and men of the US Postal Service are able to ship and proud to play a crucial function in supporting the well being wants of the American public. We have now been working carefully with the Administration and are properly ready to just accept and ship take a look at kits on the primary day this system launches,” Postmaster Basic Louis DeJoy mentioned in an announcement.
Some early customers encountered points after they tried to position an order. Complaints popped up from customers who mentioned their residential tackle had been miscategorized as a business, and from residents of condominium buildings who had been advised somebody had already ordered the exams allotted for his or her tackle.
“The Postal Service is seeing very restricted instances of addresses that aren’t registered as multi-unit buildings which may result in COVID take a look at package ordering difficulties. That is occurring in a small share of orders,” mentioned a spokesperson in an announcement.
The Postal Service says anybody who encounters issues ought to file a service request or name the customer support hotline: 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
“Each web site launch in our view comes with danger. We will not assure there will not be a bug or two, however the most effective tech groups throughout the administration and the Postal Service are working onerous to make this a hit,” mentioned Psaki.
Leave a Reply