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Free at-home COVID tests from USPS arriving now: Learn how to get yours

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Covid-19 at home rapid test kit

Each household is currently limited to four free at-home COVID-19 tests.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Much like face masks and physical distancing, rapid  have become essential tools to protect against outbreaks of . To make testing more widespread and universal, the US government is sending free at-home COVID-19 test kits to homes via .

The  it would start shipping tests in late January, but that people started receiving tests Friday. Also,  and the both reported tests arriving in the Detroit metro and Tucson, Arizona, areas early this week, respectively.

You can order the tests in less than two minutes. You only need to provide your contact information and shipping address. The test kits are available to those living in the US and its territories.

Here’s how to order your free COVID-19 tests today and what to do if you have problems. For more, here’s  and .

How can I track my order?

Once you place your order, you should receive a confirmation email. When your package ships, you’ll receive email notifications providing you with shipping updates, including a tracking number and estimated delivery date.

You can either click the tracking link or copy and paste the tracking number into the .

Covid-19 at home rapid test kit

Get your free COVID-19 test kits now.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How many test kits can I get? 

The Postal Service said each residential household is eligible for four free at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. That means only one person per address will be able to place an order for the free tests — even if you have more than four people living in your home. 

Can I choose which brand of test I want? 

No, there’s not an option to choose which brand of test you want. All tests will be at-home rapid antigen tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

What are some problems with ordering free test kits in the mail?

The USPS site has had some difficulties recognizing certain addresses, especially for apartment buildings, multifamily homes or residences connected to commercial properties. Since households are limited to four free tests, some residents of buildings with multiple units have been locked out due to a neighbor’s previous order.

The Postal Service has said that addresses not registered as multiunit buildings may lead to difficulties. Some users have reported that adding an apartment number in the main address line, rather than in the section for apartment number, enabled them to order.

In the , White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients explained: “I want to clarify that almost every resident in an apartment is able to order a test. US Postal Service is seeing a very limited number of cases where addresses that are not registered as multi-unit buildings within its database, and they’re working to fix that issue or are helping people through that process.”

According to the Postal Service, those still having trouble placing orders should  or call 800-ASK-USPS.

Also, cold weather might be a possible problem with mailed COVID-19 tests. Brief exposure to freezing temperatures won’t damage at-home tests, but leaving them out in the cold for several days could. Be sure to track your package and bring it inside quickly if you live in a cold climate.

For more information, read . Also, here’s the latest on the Army’s efforts to develop .

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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