Administration

White House launches call line for free COVID-19 test orders

Youngstown City Health Department worker Faith Terreri grabs two at-home COVID-19 test kits to be handed out during a distribution event
Associated Press/David Dermer

The White House on Friday launched a new phone line that Americans can use to order free at-home coronavirus tests, in an effort to reach those who cannot easily access the internet.

Starting Friday, Americans who cannot put in an order for the COVID-19 tests on the website launched by the White House earlier this week can call 1-800-232-0233 to do so, the White House said. The call line, which serves those speaking English, Spanish and more than 150 additional languages, is open 8 a.m. until midnight EST, seven days a week.

The Biden administration has also set up a text-based line for hearing-impaired callers at 1-888-720-7489.

The White House said the resources are meant to make the process of ordering the free tests as easy as possible and ensure that Americans with low literacy, those who have challenges accessing the internet and those who need additional support can access the tests.

The White House also said that the administration is working with national and local organizations that serve communities of color, those with disabilities and other high-risk communities to raise awareness about the free COVID-19 tests and help Americans order them.

Additionally, the White House said that 20 percent of the test orders processed each day will be from high Social Vulnerability Index ZIP codes or those that are being hardest hit by the pandemic.

“We want to make sure those communities are, instead of being the afterthought, first in line in so many ways,” Cameron Webb, Biden’s COVID-19 adviser for equity, told NBC News, which was first to report Friday’s launch of the hotline.

The White House test website, COVIDTests.gov, went live on Tuesday. Americans can use the website to order free rapid COVID-19 tests, limited to four per household, that will be delivered by the Postal Service. The tests are expected to take between seven and 12 days to ship.

Americans are required to provide minimal information — their name and mailing address — to receive the tests.

The Biden administration announced plans to offer free COVID-19 tests last month, amid criticism over a high demand and shortage of rapid coronavirus tests as the omicron variant made its way through the United States.

The Biden administration is using the website and phone line to distribute 500 million COVID-19 rapid tests to individuals across the country.

Tags COVID-19 rapid tests

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