Free rapid COVID-19 tests will be available starting Jan. 19

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Starting next week, the federal government will begin distributing free COVID-19 rapid tests through a new website, The site will launch on Wednesday, Jan. 19, and “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering,” according to a written statement published by the White House on Friday. The tests are free and so is the delivery, which will be handled by the postal service.

The Biden administration said earlier this week that it had purchased 500 million rapid test kits, and plans to purchase another 500 million. Because of the expected high demand, there will be a limit of four tests per household.

There will also be a free phone number for those with difficulty accessing the internet or who need other assistance in ordering the tests.

“The Administration is taking a number of steps to ensure this program reaches our hardest-hit and highest-risk communities,” the White House said. “This includes prioritizing processing orders to households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths… and working with national and local organizations with deep experience serving communities of color, people living with disabilities, and other high-risk communities to serve as navigators, raise awareness about the program, and help people submit requests.”

Residents of Johnson County nad Linn County can already have access to free at-home test kits, although those are not rapid tests. The samples collected in those test kits must be dropped off at certain locations, or sent to the State Hygienic Laboratory using a prepaid envelope included in the kit.

Because supplies are limited, there is also a limit of four per household for these testing kits.

In Johnson County, test kits can be picked up and dropped off at Johnson County Public Health in Iowa City (855 S Dubuque St, Room 217) and the State Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville (2490 Crosspark Rd).

Test can also be picked up, but not dropped off, at these sites.

Iowa City City Hall, 410 E Washington St

Iowa City Public Library, 123 S Linn St

Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, 2440 Towncrest Dr

Coralville City Hall, 1512 7th St

Coralville Public Library, 1401 5th St

North Liberty Library, 520 W Cherry St #9797

Tiffin City Hall, 300 Railroad St

In Linn County, test kits can be picked up and dropped off at Linn County Public Health (1020 6th Street SE, Cedar Rapids).

Test kits can also be picked up, but not dropped off, at the following locations.

In Cedar Rapids:

Catherine McAuley Center, 1220 5th Ave SE

Community Health Free Clinic, 14th Ave SE

Eastern Iowa Health Center, 201 3rd Ave SE

Four Oaks Family and Children’s Services, 5400 Kirkwood Blvd SW

In Atkins:

Atkins Family Medical Clinic, 401 Cardinal Ave

More locations in both counties and throughout Iowa can be found using the look-up tool on Test Iowa’s site.

A rapid test COVID-19 antigen test. It’s unclear what brand of rapid test the federal government will supply. — English Roger/Flickr

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