Free At Home COVID Tests Coming To Palm Desert Residents

PALM DESERT, CA — Starting Jan. 19, Coachella Valley residents and all Americans can begin ordering free at-home COVID-19 rapid tests, the Biden administration announced Friday.

Orders for up to four tests per household can be placed using COVIDtests.gov. A yet-to-be-released phone number will also be available to place orders for those without access to computers or the internet.

The tests are expected to ship within seven to 12 days of ordering.

In addition to being free, there will be no shipping costs and no credit card information will be required, officials said.

The COVIDtests.gov website was created with help from the U.S. Digital Service, a program used to improve federal websites after the less-than-stellar 2013 rollout of the HealthCare.gov website for Affordable Care Act health insurance.

"We're ready for this," an official told reporters about the COVIDtests.gov website.

News of the website comes a day after President Biden announced that his administration will buy another 500 million at-home coronavirus tests for Americans, in addition to his plans announced last month to order 500 million tests. He also said the White House will make high-quality masks available for free, with details coming out next week.

In Palm Desert and around the region, at-home COVID tests have been very hard — if not impossible — to find, with most retailers saying they are out of stock.

The lack of supply comes at a time when Riverside County is seeing rapid COVID spread and increased pressure on hospitals.

According to the Riverside University Health System, the total number of people currently hospitalized with a coronavirus diagnosis was 991 on Friday, up 15 from Thursday, and that includes 151 ICU patients — up six from a day earlier.

Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that local emergency rooms are "getting hammered," with a surge of COVID patients on top of an even larger number of non-COVID patients. Read more: Hospital Emergency Rooms 'Getting Hammered' In Riverside County

RUHS said the total number of COVID cases recorded since the public health documentation period began is 423,832. Thursday's number was 422,084.

According to RUHS, the total number of deaths countywide from COVID-related complications now stands at 5,671, going back to March 2020. The count is up 10 from Thursday.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the first baby death stemming from coronavirus complications was confirmed in Riverside County.

According to the Riverside University Health System, the infant death occurred earlier this week at a local hospital where the child was taken after becoming ill. The name of the baby, who was less than 12 months old, and city of residence were not being released. Read more: Southwest Riverside County Infant Dies From COVID

This article originally appeared on the Palm Desert Patch

Source : https://news.yahoo.com/free-home-covid-tests-coming-002213623.html

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