Free COVID-19 test program to be suspended for now

(The Hill) – The federal government’s free at-home COVID-19 test program will be suspended beginning Friday in response to a drop in respiratory diseases.

The Biden administration brought back the free test program last year ahead of the respiratory viral season. By going to COVIDtests.gov, households could order a free pack of four at-home COVID-19 tests. This most recent batch of free tests was the sixth round made available.

A banner on the website now states that “ordering for free COVID-19 tests via this website will be suspended after Friday, March 8, 2024. All orders placed on or before March 8 will be delivered.”

The program may be brought back again in the future as needed.

According to federal data, weekly hospital admissions for COVID-19 and weekly deaths have been declining in the U.S. since the start of January.

The most recent weekly flu report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated a 14.2 percent drop in positive lab tests for influenza in the past week, though it also indicated that “seasonal influenza activity remains elevated nationally,” with increases in activity in some parts of the country.

This announcement shortly after the CDC shifted its coronavirus guidance last week, no longer recommending that people stay home for five days after testing positive for the virus.

The updated guidance now aligns with what health experts recommend for flu or RSV infections, advising that people stay home if they are sick and symptomatic, return to normal activities if their symptoms are improving and they are fever-free for 24 hours without medication.

Coronavirus

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