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White House Soft-Launches COVID-19 Test Request Website

A day before the site was scheduled to officially go online, the Biden administration quietly launched its website for Americans to request free at-home COVID-19 tests on Tuesday. The website, COVIDTests.gov, now includes a link for “every home in the U.S.” to access an order form run by the U.S. Postal Service.

            According to AP News, people can order four at-home tests per residential address, to be delivered by the Postal Service. It marks the latest step by President Joe Biden to address the criticisms leveled at him over the low inventory and long lines for testing during a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the website was in “beta testing” and operating at a “limited capacity” ahead of its official launch. The website’s official launch is scheduled for midmorning Wednesday, said Psaki.

            At points, the website had more than 750,000 people accessing the page at once, according to public government tracking data, but it was not known how many orders were placed. Ap News reported that there were isolated reports Tuesday afternoon of problems relating to the website’s address verification tool erroneously enforcing the four-per-household cap on apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings. A spokesperson for the Postal Service said in a statement that the error was “occurring in a small percentage of orders.” Psaki also added that the administration was anticipating a “bug or two,” but had IT experts from across the government working to get the site ready.

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