Health Education Blog

How to Get Your Free At-Home COVID Tests

Posted by Staff on January 21, 2022

covid 19 home test

In an ongoing effort to curb the latest omicron variant of COVID-19, as of January 18, 2022, every home in the United States is eligible to order up to four free COVID-19 tests. In recent weeks COVID tests have been hard to come by as there’s been an increase in demand, again thanks to the latest and more contagious variant. By offering these free tests, Americans will be able to have them when they need them so they can know sooner whether they need to stay home to protect themselves and others or if they can have peace of mind and go back to their daily activities.

How to order the free at-home Covid-19 tests

Visit to order their free at-home tests or go directly to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) order form here: Tests will start shipping the week of January 24, 2022 and orders will usually ship in 7 to 12 days.

Quick facts about the at-home COVID-19 tests

  • Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR
  • Can be taken anywhere
  • Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
  • Work whether or not you have COVID-⁠19 symptoms
  • Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-⁠19 vaccines
  • Are also referred to as self-tests or over the counter (OTC) tests

When to take an at-⁠home test

  • If you begin having COVID-⁠19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, OR
  • At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19, OR
  • When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

If you have a positive at-home test, it means that the test has found the virus and you very likely have COVID-19. You should follow the latest CDC guidance for isolation.

If your at-home test result is negative, the test did not find the virus. Check your test kit’s instructions for specific next steps.

Even if you tested negative, it’s still important to take preventative measures against COVID-19 by:

  • Staying up-to-date with your vaccine and boosters
  • Wearing a well-fitted mask when gathering indoors
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance between people

If you need a COVID-19 test now, please visit: ( for free testing in Butte County.

If you need a vaccine or booster, Orchard Hospital provides a walk-in COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic every Monday through Friday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Offering all three COVID-19 Vaccines for ages 5 and up.

Topics: Vaccines, News, Covid-19

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This blog is the place to find general healthcare information, news and updates, as well as ways Orchard Hospital can help!


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