WASHINGTON — The federal government will suspend online orders for free, at-home COVID-19 tests on Friday.
A senior official with the Biden administration confirmed to USA Today that the cuts are intended to buoy test supplies in anticipation of a fall wave of new COVID-19 infections.
In turn, tests will no longer be available through COVIDTests.gov beginning Sept. 2, The Hill reported.
The site allows people to order four at-home tests per residence and have them delivered by mail.
According to USA Today, COVID-19 tests will still be available at 15,000 federally supported community sites such as libraries and pharmacies. The test will also be available at community health centers, and people can be reimbursed for tests through private and public health insurance plans.
The senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the measure has not been publicly announced, told USA Today that the administration would work “within its limited existing resources” to secure as many additional tests as possible. The official did not say how many tests were left.
“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,” a message on the federal government’s COVID-19 website reads.
Earlier this year, the White House requested as much as $22.5 billion in new funding to pay for COVID-19 tests, vaccines, therapeutics and research. Republicans have said the expenditure should be paid for by repurposing other funds, USA Today reported.
According to The Hill, the Biden administration originally announced in January that it would offer 1 billion free, at-home COVID-19 tests in January, using funds from the American Rescue Plan to pay for the mass testing.
The government has distributed more than 600 million tests through COVIDTests.gov since its January launch, USA Today reported.
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