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You have until Friday to order free rapid COVID tests before the federal program ends



The federal government is supplying four at-home COVID-19 tests per U.S. household, delivered for free by USPS. Feb. 2, 2022. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

This week will be the last chance to get free rapid COVID-19 tests from the federal government. The program the Biden administration launched in January, using the post office to deliver the at-home test kits at no cost, will stop taking orders on Friday.

“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,” the covid.gov site explains.

In early March, the Biden administration announced a plan to stockpile at-home test kits and vaccines ahead of an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases this winter, asking Congress for $22.5 billion to finance it. Instead of that amount, members of the House of Representatives included $15.6 billion in federal COVID-19 funding in the omnibus spending bill that was under consideration. But objections from Republicans and conservative Democrats over cuts to other funding to offset the COVID funds caused Democratic leaders in the House to remove it.

“Let’s grow up about this,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the money to stockpile COVID supplies was dropped from the spending bill that had to be passed to prevent a shutdown of the federal government. “We’re in a legislative process. We have a deadline for keeping government open. We had a lively negotiation. It has to be bipartisan.”

A separate bill to provide money for Biden’s COVID proposal was proposed in the House, but stalled and was never voted on.

The administration said it intends to revive the free rapid test kit program as soon as Congress approves funding for it.

Although the federal program is ending, at-home test kits are still available through Test Iowa.

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.

To order a set of COVID-19 tests to be delivered to your home, visit covid.gov before the end of the day on Friday. Any household that has not already received three sets of tests through the program is still eligible to receive a set of eight rapid tests.


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