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Federal government to halt free COVID-19 at-home tests by early September

Federal government to halt free COVID-19 at-home tests by early September

The federal government is set to suspend its offer of free at-home COVID-19 tests by Friday, Sept. 2, without congressional authorization for an extension. 

The U.S. Postal Service’s page for ordering the tests states that orders will pause by next Friday “or sooner if supplies run out.” 

“Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests,” a message on the federal government’s COVID-19 website reads. 

The Biden administration originally announced that it would offer 1 billion free at-home COVID-19 tests in January. The federal government used COVID-19 funding from the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus and COVID-19 recovery package that he signed into law last year. 

Biden has since offered additional rounds of tests for Americans to order, most recently in May. Households could order an additional eight tests in the most recent round. 

The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases has declined slightly in recent weeks following an increase fueled by the highly contagious BA.5 omicron subvariant. But a senior administration official told USA Today that the government needs to hold on to tests for a possible rise in the fall. 

The official said that the administration will use its existing “limited” resources to obtain as many tests as it can, but distribution could resume on a large scale if Congress provides the funding for it.