The New Normal: Everything to know about at-home COVID-19 tests available from federal gov't

News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Dwayne Breining to talk about at-home COVID-19 tests available for free to all Americans.
Americans can now order free coronavirus rapid tests from a federal website. Each household is allowed to order up to four tests.
The website, called, will require that users provide their names and addresses to receive the tests. The government purchased 500 million rapid tests to be distributed.

When should you test?

The Biden administration says the tests should be used in three situations: If you have COVID-19 symptoms; at least five days after exposure; or before gathering indoors with unvaccinated people or those at higher risk for COVID-19.
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How should these tests be stored?

Will the tests help impact the demand during the current Omicron surge?

Officials say the tests will be shipped within seven to 12 days after being ordered, a timeline that experts say means the tests probably will become available too late to significantly blunt the impact of the current Omicron surge along the East Coast, where the outbreak may be beginning to slow. But the tests could make a difference to the parts of the country that have yet to face the worst of the surge.

How reliable are these tests?

While experts have said rapid tests are a critical tool both in the Omicron surge and going forward, early research issued in late December by the Food and Drug Administration and produced by the National Institutes of Health said the tests "do detect the omicron variant but may have reduced sensitivity."

Where should you get COVID-19 tests to avoid frauds?

Fraud related to the virus has persisted since the onset of the pandemic, but the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has created opportunities for scammers preying on the high demand for tests.
On Friday, the Better Business Bureau issued an alert about phony websites and pop-up testing sites that collect people's personal information, swab them for a test and then never provide results.