1/18/22 Update – 2:32 pm – USPS is taking orders today, click here for details.
Starting tomorrow – Wednesday Jan. 19 – islanders, along with millions of other Americans, can begin to order free at-home rapid COVID tests through a government sponsored website: covidtests.gov.
According to a press release issued by the White House, “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service. USPS reports shipping times of one to three days for its first-class package service in the continental United States. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) addresses will be sent through Priority Mail.
More importantly, given the shipping and process times, Americans will need to request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for requiring one. The White House says that “to promote broad access,” shipments from covidtests.gov will initially be limited to four rapid tests per residential address, no matter the number of occupants.
Meanwhile, due to demand for physical testing far exceeding capacity, appointments are now being required for the COVID-19 test site at Rolling Bay . Bainbridge Prepares, which is coordinating the test site along with the City and the Fire Department, asks that people do not show up at the test site without an appointment. You can book appointments by visiting: https://www.testdirectly.com/patient/home
The Rolling Bay drive-thru site now offers testing 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. Authorities ask that you cancel your appointment on TestDirectly if you can’t make it or if you no longer need a test. This will help free up space for individuals who indeed feel they need to make an appointment, authorities said.
If you can’t get tested, assume you have COVID, authorities add, and stay home. Follow the guidelines here: bainbridgewa.gov/COVID19.
As for Bainbridge Prepares holding future vaccine clinics, there are none currently scheduled. The COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership continues to monitor federal guidance and will schedule additional vaccine clinics as needed. If you need a vaccination, a full list of providers in Kitsap County is available on the Kitsap Public Health District page.
The federal government, meantime, has secured more than 420 million tests for distribution through covidtests.gov, with plans to increase the order to 1 billion tests in the coming weeks. All of the tests supplied will be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and are capable of detecting the more-transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19, which is the dominant strain in the U.S. While they are packaged differently and may use slightly different procedures, officials said, the test mechanisms of detection and effectiveness are generally the same. All tests will come with detailed instructions.
According to published reports, the CDC states that anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should test five days after their exposure, or as soon as symptoms occur.
“If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19,” the guidance states.