Submitted by San Juan County
On Monday, Sept. 25 the federal government opened online orders for every U.S. household to place an order for four free COVID-19 rapid tests. Go online to covid.gov/tests to place your order or you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). Orders will ship free starting the week of Oct. 2.
The tests available for order are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR tests. They are also referred to self-tests or over the counter (OTC) tests. Testing is an important tool to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. It is recommended that you test twice before gathering with others outside your immediate household. Plan to take one test 24 hours before the gathering and again right before you arrive.
Remember, before you throw out “expired” tests, check out the FDA’s “Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Test and Expiration Dates” website to see if your tests’ expiration dates have been extended. If you need a COVID-19 test right away, check with your local pharmacy to see if they have tests in stock for purchase. At-home tests are available to buy without a prescription. If you have Apple Health (Medicaid), at-home COVID-19 tests will be free through September 2024. If you or someone you know cannot access the federal program, please contact San Juan County Health & Community Services at 360-378-4474. We have a small supply to fill in the gaps, upon request.
Those that are at high-risk, live with high-risk individuals, or visit high-risk people indoors are encouraged to take extra precautions as we enter respiratory disease season. Staying up to date on your COVID-19 and flu vaccines, practicing good hand-washing hygiene, masking in indoor public spaces, testing twice before gathering (24 hours apart), and getting treated with Paxlovid as soon as possible if infected with COVID-19 are all critically important.
For more information visit:
COVID.gov at https://www.covid.gov/tests
FDA Extended Expiration Dates List at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/home-otc-covid-19-diagnostic-tests#list
CMS How to get your At-Home Over-The-Counter COVID-19 Test for Free at https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free
DOH Respiratory Illness Data Dashboard at https://doh.wa.gov/data-and-statistical-reports/diseases-and-chronic-conditions/communicable-disease-surveillance-data/respiratory-illness-data-dashboard
SJC Fall COVID-19 Booster Vaccines: What We Know Now https://www.sanjuanco.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1486