NEW YORK  — The U.S. government is suspending mail orders for free COVID-19 tests – at least for now.

Friday, March 8 is the last day residential households can request free virus tests shipped through the United States Postal Service. According to the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, orders are set to close at 11:59 p.m. PT.

COVID-Tests Suspended

A U.S. government website is displayed on a computer in 2022, in Walpole, Mass., that features a page where people can order free, at-home COVID-19 tests. Steven Senne/Associated Press, file

“ASPR has delivered over 1.8 billion free COVID-19 tests to the American people through and direct distribution pathways and will continue distributing millions of tests per week to long-term care facilities, food banks, health centers, and schools,” a spokesperson for ASPR said in a prepared statement sent to The Associated Press.

Mail orders for free COVID tests from the government have been paused or expanded before. Despite Friday’s suspension, it’s still possible for the program to resume again down the road – with ASPR noting that it reserves the right to use in the future as needed.

The Biden administration first launched its free mail-order COVID tests back in January 2022. The program was most recently reopened in September of last year – and households have been eligible to order the latest round of tests since November.

The decision to suspend ordering for the program’s sixth round arrives amid lowering case rates coming out of the winter respiratory season, ASPR noted.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the respiratory virus season was likely past its peak following a December surge – but still urged caution.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: