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Third round of free Covid-19 tests now available

The websites for HHS and the U.S. Postal Service directed people Monday to apply for a third round of at-home tests.
Image: Home Covid-19 tests
Rapid at-home Covid-19 test kits are distributed by the GreenRoots environmental protection organization and Chelsea Community Connections in Chelsea, Mass., on Dec. 17.Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images file

The federal government started taking orders Monday for a third round of Covid-19 test kits to be mailed to any U.S. household.

A Department of Health and Human Services website said Monday that all U.S. households were eligible to order a third round of tests. Each order now contains eight rapid antigen tests, the U.S. Postal Service website says. Previously, four tests were sent out at a time.

The White House announced the new eligibility Tuesday. It said that in total, about 350 million tests have been delivered by mail in the program.

The tests to be shipped in this new round were purchased earlier this year using funds from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed by Congress in 2021, the administration said.

President Joe Biden in December announced a plan to ship free at-home tests to people across the country, and the website with the first tests went live in January.

A second round was announced in March.

The number of new Covid cases has been increasing in recent weeks. The White House cited the more transmissible subvariants of the omicron variant and the importance of testing in announcing the new round of eligibility Tuesday.