PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As COVID-19 cases start to tick up, the federal government is taking action.
The Biden administration announced it’s investing $600 million to reopen COVIDTests.gov to deliver tests to people’s homes.
With the fall and winter months approaching, those numbers aren’t expected to decrease anytime soon.
Here’s what you need to know about getting tested for — and vaccinated against — COVID-19:
More at-home test kits being shipped
Starting on Sept. 25, every U.S. household can once again order four free COVID-19 rapid tests that will be delivered to their door.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra made the announcement Wednesday while he received the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
“The president believes it’s very important to make sure that all Americans have access to tests.” Becerra said. “And so we will, once again, begin our program to provide Americans with an opportunity to request tests. Stay tuned.”
Where to find free tests now
If you need a no-cost COVID-19 test before Sept. 25, you can search for a location that offers free testing here.
Check the expiration dates
The government is urging people who already have tests at home to check whether they’ve expired.
Some FDA-authorized tests’ expiration dates have been extended. You can check whether the expiration dates on at-home tests here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says everyone 6 months and older should get an updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Updated vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are now available.
“Receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine can restore protection and provide enhanced protection against the variants currently responsible for most infections and hospitalizations in the United States,” the CDC explained.
This fall and winter season will be the first time vaccines are available for RSV, the flu and COVID-19. Those three viruses are responsible for the most hospitalizations, according to the CDC.
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are underinsured or don’t have health insurance, you can get a free vaccine through the CDC’s new Bridge Access Program.
You can search for COVID-19 vaccine locations here. The search has you enter your ZIP code and then allows you to select what kind of vaccines you’re looking for.
Once you’ve clicked the “search for COVID-19 Vaccines” button, you can filter the results. Some of the filters include whether there are appointments available, and whether the location is participating in the Bridge Access Program.