Federal website for free COVID tests launches a day early

The federal website where Americans can order free COVID-19 tests launched a day early, and now you can sign up to have the tests sent to your home.

Though originally slated to start taking orders Wednesday, covidtests.gov had a surprise launch Tuesday. It directs visitors to special.usps.com/testkits, where U.S. residents can fill out a short form to get their tests.

The White House had announced the site Friday.

Orders include one set of four free at-home tests from USPS.com that ship, for free, to residential addresses, starting in late January. Orders are limited to one per household.

The White House said that tests will typically ship within seven to 12 days of ordering through the U.S. Postal Service, which reports shipping times of one to three days for its first-class package service in the continental United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at-home testing when experiencing COVID-19 systems, including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms and muscle aches, five days after a potential COVID-19 exposure, or as part of test-to-stay protocols in schools and workplaces.

Orders can be placed online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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