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Free COVID tests once again available by mail for all residents

 

Last updated 12/21/2022 at 7:47pm | View PDF

In anticipation of severely cold temperatures on Thursday, Dec. 22, the community-based COVID-19 testing site at the Colorado Springs Event Center Parking Lot (at 3960 Palmer Park Blvd.) will be closed all day. On Friday, Dec. 23, the testing site will be open from noon to 6 p.m.

In observance of the Christmas holiday, the testing site will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24, and remain closed on Sunday, Dec. 25.

In observance of the New Year holiday, the testing site will be closed on Sunday, Jan. 1.

Last week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that a third round of free COVID tests has been made available by mail to all residents. Each U.S. household is eligible to order four free tests through COVIDTests.gov or covid.gov.

To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address. No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may also share your email address to get updates on your order.

If you have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order, you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages – 8AM to 8PM ET Monday–Friday and 8AM to 5PM ET Saturday and Sunday.

The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to specifically help people with disabilities place their orders. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday-Friday from 9AM to 8PM ET, or email [email protected]

For those who have questions about eligibility, the online ordering form, shipping, or delivery, you can contact the USPS Help Desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Each household is eligible to receive one order of a free at-home test (4 tests total).

In addition to this program, there are numerous other options to get tested for free, including community-based testing sites and pharmacies. In El Paso County, the community testing site currently is located at Colorado Springs Event Center Parking Lot, at 3960 Palmer Park Blvd., Colorado Springs. It is open seven days a week 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. It will be closed after 2 p.m. Christmas Eve through Christmas Day, and closed on New Year's Day. Pre-registration is recommended, but not required. See https://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/covid-19-testing-information

The HHS is also distributing free at-home tests to schools, nursing homes, community health centers, rural health clinics, food banks, and other community locations to ensure communities have widespread access to tests.

If you have health insurance through an employer, the Marketplace, Medicare, or Medicaid, your insurance will also cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home tests (up to 8 at-home tests per month for each person on your plan).

This program is designed to offer broad access to tests for individuals and families across a number of living arrangements. Residential addresses known to have multiple unrelated families can order multiple tests.

In some limited cases, addresses may not be recognized as multi-family by USPS. This might result in an issue placing an order if another resident at your address has already ordered. If you believe you are running into this issue, you can file a service request or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to get the issue fixed.

You may request tests to be sent to a PO Box, as long as it is registered as a residential PO Box.

For those with questions about special PO Box circumstances, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

All tests distributed as part of this program are FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests. You will not be able to choose the brand you order as part of this program.

There is an option for you to provide an email address to receive email notifications with shipping updates.

Once your order is shipped, you will receive an email with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number. You can track the status of your delivery on USPS.com.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you take an at-home test in situations such as:

• If you begin having COVID-19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or

• At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or

Scammers have been targeting Medicare recipients with a fake offer to get "free COVID tests." They're calling and running websites, online and television ads to try to convince people to give their Medicare information. But if you give them your information, they'll bill fraudulent charges to Medicare. Read more here: https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2022/08/free-covid-test-scam-targets-people-medicare

Households with individuals who are blind or low vision can order 12 at-home tests that have been assessed by the National Institutes of Health as more accessible for the visually impaired. These tests can be ordered at: https://special.usps.com/testkits/accessible

Since shipping conditions may vary, test developers perform stability testing to ensure that the test performance will remain stable when tests are stored at various temperatures, including shipping during the summer in very hot regions and in the winter in very cold regions.

However, test performance may be impacted if the test is used while it is still cold, such as being used outdoors in freezing temperatures or being used immediately after being brought inside from freezing temperatures. The stated performance generally assumes the test is being performed in an environment that is between 59-86⁰F. The specific conditions that were validated are included in the authorized Instructions for Use for each test.

In order to ensure appropriate test performance with a test that is delivered to you in below freezing temperatures, you should bring the package inside your home and leave it unopened at room temperature for at least two hours before opening it. Once the package is at room temperature, you may open it and perform the test according to the authorized instructions for use. 

 

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