Here's how to get free COVID-19 tests from the government

Here's how to get free COVID-19 tests from the government

Home COVID-19 tests allow you to know your COVID status whether you develop symptoms of the virus. The problem is that these tests can be hard to find.

It's important to note that starting Wednesday, the US government will distribute free COVID-19 tests to families via the website. A Register Today button has been added, which takes you to the USPS website to enter your name and address. Four COVID-19 tests will be in each box and sent to each residential address for use as needed. All you have to do is register. The website says that the test will ship in seven to 12 days, so it's a good idea to sign up before you need tests.

Need a test ASAP or more than four tests for your family? At-home COVID-19 tests will be available to the general public at drugstores, major retailers, even grocery stores, and online — often flying off shelves once they're stocked.

If you've never used a COVID-19 test at home before, you'll likely have some questions about what these tests are and exactly how they work.

There are variations in on-at-home COVID-19 tests and how they work, but rapid tests are the most common type. (Some tests will ask you to collect a sample and mail it to a lab, which will be analyzed, but these tests are less common since they take longer to get results.)

According to (CDC), most at-home tests will ask you to take a nasal swab,  so it's essential to read the instructions carefully before the test and while looking at the results, says the CDC.

The big question that many people ask about these tests is how accurate they are. Rapid COVID-19 tests aren't necessarily as precise as PCR tests, which are the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, but they can do more. A meta-analysis published in March found that rapid antigen tests picked up about 72 percent of symptomatic cases that were confirmed positive with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Each test group researches how effective the company's product is at detecting COVID-19. In general, Adalja says it's "appropriate" to know if you're infected — especially if you have symptoms of the virus.

Many options are available for COVID tests at home, but those authorized by the FDA have shared their data online. Among some of the most popular tests. Ellume says its test has 96 % accuracy in seeing patients' COVID-19 symptoms and 91 percent accuracy in detecting issues that She has no signs. Fellow EUA InteliSwab tester says its testing has identified 84 percent positive samples in clinical trials and 98 percent negative samples. In contrast, QuickVue says its test captures 83.5 percent of positive cases and 99.2 percent of negative instances. The iHealth Rapid Antigen Test reports 94.3 percent accuracy in correctly identifying positive patients.

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