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Fri Jan 14, 2022, 02:59 PM

Shipments of free coronavirus tests will take at least a week, U.S. officials say.

Last edited Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:02 PM - Edit history (1)

Source: New York Times

Americans will be able to order free rapid coronavirus tests online at COVIDTests.gov beginning on Wednesday, but the tests will take time to arrive: they will typically ship within 7 to 12 days after being ordered, senior Biden administration officials said on Friday.

The announcement of the website fulfills a promise President Biden made before Christmas, when he said his administration would purchase 500 million rapid at-home coronavirus tests and distribute them to Americans free of charge. On Thursday, Mr. Biden announced his intent to purchase an additional 500 million tests, bringing the total to 1 billion. The administration has already contracted for 420 million tests.

But the lag in shipping means that Americans may not have access to the tests until the end of January at the earliest. In some parts of the country, that may be after the peak of the current surge of coronavirus cases, fueled by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.The Postal Service will handle shipping and delivery through first class mail, the officials said.

The officials did not have a specific time when the website would go live; they simply said it would happen sometime next Wednesday. They said that each household would be limited to ordering four tests. Beginning on Saturday, however, people with private insurance are supposed to be able to seek reimbursement for tests they purchase themselves. Some insurers say it will probably take weeks to fully set up the system the White House envisions.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/01/14/world/omicron-covid-vaccine-tests/shipments-of-free-coronavirus-tests-will-take-at-least-a-week-us-officials-say



I HAVE to add this that I just found out in my local paper (Philly Inquirer) -

USPS reaches agreement to deliver COVID-19 test kits, with Philly part of pilot program

Postal workers at 43 facilities across the United States, including Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, will build and label millions of testing kits for mail delivery.

by Ellie Rushing
Updated 2 hours ago

The White House and U.S. Postal Service have finalized plans for a pilot program to deliver 500 million coronavirus testing kits to American households, according to an agreement between the USPS and American Postal Workers Union. Postal workers at 43 facilities across the United States, including Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, will build and label millions of testing kits for mail delivery, according to the agreement.

President Joe Biden’s administration has built a website, covidtests.org, where, beginning Jan. 19, each American household can request up to four testing kits to be delivered. The site, which launched Friday, says “the tests will be completely free — there are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number.”

Andy Kubat, president of the Lehigh Valley area APWU, who was on a union teleconference call Thursday when plans for the program were presented, said it’s anticipated the USPS could deliver upward of 2 million kits per day. “I heard some offices are reporting there are pallets of kits already there, or at least components of the kits,” Kubat said.

In Philadelphia, the tests will be stored, built, and shipped out of a nearly 120,000-square-foot warehouse in Upper Chichester Township in Delaware County, which the USPS leased in November for five years for package overflow, said Philly APWU Local 89 president Nick Casselli. Casselli said he expects to get more information about the plans and shipments of the kits on Friday. The pilot program will last 75 days from Jan. 12, according to the agreement, which was signed Wednesday by national APWU president Mark Diamondstein and USPS vice president of labor relations Katherine Attridge.

https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/covid-test-kits-usps-philadelphia-20220113.html

24 replies, 1092 views

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Reply Shipments of free coronavirus tests will take at least a week, U.S. officials say. (Original post)
BumRushDaShow Friday OP
HUAJIAO Friday #1
BumRushDaShow Friday #5
Marthe48 Friday #7
BumRushDaShow Friday #9
ChazII Friday #12
BumRushDaShow Friday #14
Marthe48 Friday #18
BumRushDaShow Friday #19
COL Mustard Friday #15
Alexander Of Assyria Friday #2
Deminpenn Friday #3
JustABozoOnThisBus Friday #4
BumRushDaShow Friday #13
COL Mustard Friday #16
BumRushDaShow Friday #17
Marthe48 Saturday #22
BumRushDaShow Saturday #23
keithbvadu2 Friday #6
Orrex Friday #8
BumRushDaShow Friday #11
iluvtennis Friday #10
nitpicker Saturday #20
BumRushDaShow Saturday #21
gopiscrap Saturday #24

Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:53 PM

1. This is great, but why wasn't it done 2 months or more ago?

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Response to HUAJIAO (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:37 PM

5. Because even though something is "free" to the public

SOMEONE (the federal government through congressional appropriations) has to pay for it (through contracts). It can take a couple months to get a contract done (the right way - i.e., putting it out for bid, reviewing the contract proposals, getting clarifications on the responses, etc).

Remember the fiscal year was over September 30 and they had to get some kind of CR in place (which we are still under) and then get the debt ceiling fiasco taken care of (which it finally was... for now) and while all of this was going on, comb through the funding from the last COVID appropriations to see which line items they would use and how they would apply the funding for kits. Then of course was deciding which kits - will they all be one brand or several that can be selected? And on and on.

I expect this had already been in the pipeline and once they were ready to finalize the whats and wherefores, they "announced it". It also required the creation of a website and database to do the kit requests ("orders" ), so that was probably another huge contract and I know they don't want a repeat of healthcare.gov but I expect there will be anyway - that's unfortunately how rolling out huge brand new data systems end up - bugs galore and overwhelmed servers (virtual cloud instances).

Just a lot of logistics that have to go on behind the scenes and I can imagine the whole thing is going to probably crash on day one. I hope hope hope I am wrong but there has been so much pent up demand that it will be like trying to score tickets to some hot concert.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 05:01 PM

7. You are awesome!

Wonderful, clear and plainly written explanation of how government does things! Thank you!

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Response to Marthe48 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 05:44 PM

9. You are welcome!

I am a retired fed after 30+ years "in the system".

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Response to Marthe48 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 06:27 PM

12. Echoing your response. n/t

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Response to Marthe48 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:21 PM

14. Check out what I found out - I added to the OP comments

USPS workers will be "assembling" kits (sounds like they are getting bulk strips/reagents, etc) to ship out as a pilot across 43 different areas around the country. If they are doing it this way, I am guessing the "kits" won't be in retail boxes

So as a "projection" - if someone requests 4 kits (the max), and the components for single "kit" has say - an instruction booklet, a ziploc bag with a bottle of reagent (that contains enough for 2 tests), 2 swabs, and 2 little trays (or whatever they use to develop and read the strips), then a "shipment" of "4 kits" would include 4 instruction booklets, 4 ziploc bottles of reagent, 8 swabs, and 8 little trays.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:39 PM

18. Good to know

I wonder if USPS will hire temps to assemble the kits? I didn't know the postal workers did that kind of work.

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Response to Marthe48 (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:51 PM

19. Looks like it is one of those "partnership" things (for the pilot)

and I know USPS hires temps during the holiday season so they might be using that same temp pool of workers since they had already been screened and are perhaps considering or planning to call them back if they are interested ($$$$).

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:58 PM

15. Not only that, but demand is very high

I ordered some this week from a major online retailer and they won't get here before the end of January. It's like masks and paper products were in 2020.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:22 PM

2. Scientists are recommending that folks not symptomatic not do tests to save the bulk for people who

elderly and vulnerable.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:29 PM

3. 7-10 days shipping time is the standard

retailers give their customers who order goods online and use regular shipping.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:37 PM

4. Are they shipping by our postal service? Mr DeJoy will slow them down.

But, thanks for the info on the web site and date when we can request tests.

I don't know if I trust the tests very much, but being vaxxed and boosted, it's ok.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:12 PM

13. I just added an excerpt of an article in the local Philly paper that just got published this p.m.

The postal service employees are apparently going to be "assembling" the boxes of test kits to ship out... Meaning apparently the manufacturers may have shipped components without the retail packaging and these components will be re-packaged into USPS shipping boxes.

I don't know if USPS is actually going to have specialty boxes with unique logos indicating HHS (or some government identifier) or will use their regular shipping boxes/sleeves but it almost hearkens back to these days -



(which makes me wonder if they will have a HHS logo on there somewhere)

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:00 PM

16. That's a lot of cheese

A whoooooole lot of cheese.

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Response to COL Mustard (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 08:04 PM

17. LOL

Back when that was being given out in the early '80s, one of my godbrothers, who was a trucker, was contracted to deliver shipments of it and showed us what it looked like.

They were 5lb blocks.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 15, 2022, 10:02 AM

22. Many of us got the cheese

We were in the WIC program for a couple of years and I think we got it through that. My brother called it reagan cheese.

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Response to Marthe48 (Reply #22)

Sat Jan 15, 2022, 10:11 AM

23. I know my godbrother had some

that "fell off the truck" and landed elsewhere.

But see, the current GOP already threw him under the bus many times and even backed up and ran over what was left just as many times. I also know that if he were around today, he would probably have bent over backwards to keep supporting his party's lunacy. Still... Democrats controlled Congress during his two terms too so...

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:56 PM

6. If you want efficient mass distribution, hire the AOL guy who sent 20 AOL CDs to every American.

If you want efficient mass distribution, hire the AOL guy who sent 20 AOL CDs to every American.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 05:24 PM

8. Great, but they should be available in bulk at every pharmacy and grocery store nationwide

I get the logistical concerns etc., and god knows that The Fuckface Guy did nothing at all to mitigate this catastrope, but calm explanations of the delay will do little to comfort people who've had to take off six unpaid days from their low wage jobs while they've waited for a testing site, followed by 2-4 days waiting for results.

I applaud this development even as I lament the strictures imposed by reality.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 06:17 PM

11. Unless the manufacturing process is all robots

(and I know Japan has gone that route for some things) then someone needs to hire physical bodies from a depleted workforce to actually manufacture the things. Unfortunately there is no Star Trek "replicator" out there to instantly generate test kits.



This is part of the reason why there are shortages as well.

Back last spring, a couple of the biggest ones (Abbott and Becton-Dickinsen) had shut down manufacturing and laid off employees because the latest first wave at the time had pretty much waned, the vaccines were getting out there and there was this collective "aura" about "turning a corner", and this thing would be done by the end of that year. This was before Delta. Fast forward to now, with Delta having rampaged around the world over the summer, and then Omicron through winter, and here we are. These manufacturers had to restart operations. Meanwhile Chinese companies were trying to fill the gap but like any other medical device (which is what these kits are), they had to submit data for EUAs (including the manufacturing processes, validations, etc), and get their data reviewed and approved by FDA before being available for sale. These things aren't like making fast food - ripping open the plastic off some frozen hamburgers, throwing them in a grill, slapping them in buns, adding the toppings, wrapping them in paper, and handing them to a customer.

And then you have what (IMHO) basically amounts to a nasty argument between the "pro-test" scientists and medical community and the "anti-test" ones ("anti-" in terms of them insisting that testing should be limited to specific circumstances and not continual nor for anyone without symptoms, whether they are asymptomatic or uninfected - mainly because you can get a negative test at 8 am and then test again at 4 pm and come up positive).

So this leaves the public health officials in a bind trying to navigate between the 2 camps - each side loudly proclaiming their positions - amplified by the media who has to get eyeballs and will "play both sides against the middle".

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 06:12 PM

10. Thanks for this info. Have bookmarked the website.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Sat Jan 15, 2022, 07:27 AM

20. This ignores those without internet connections

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Response to nitpicker (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 15, 2022, 07:51 AM

21. Unfortunately the NYT didn't have all the details but from another Philly Inquirer article

there will be "phone orders".

How to get free COVID-19 tests from the federal government

by Nick Vadala
Published Jan 14, 2022

Americans will be able to begin ordering rapid COVID-19 tests to their homes free of charge starting Jan. 19 from the federal government. Starting Wednesday, you can order a test from COVIDTests.gov, which the federal government will send out at no cost — including no shipping fees. A half billion tests will be available for order at first, with an additional 500 million on order.

To distribute the tests, the Biden administration will partner with the United States Postal Service. Postal workers at 43 facilities around the country — including in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh — will build and label millions of the testing kits for mail delivery.

(snip)

Where can I request free tests?

Starting Jan. 19, you can go to COVIDTests.gov and request free tests. The website is currently active, but is not yet accepting orders. It is not yet clear what information you will need to provide in order to receive the tests, but you won’t need to provide any credit card information.

If you don’t have internet access, or for those who need additional support to get tests, there will be a free call line accepting phone-in orders. The number for the call line was not included in the White House’s statement on the program’s launch.

https://www.inquirer.com/philly-tips/free-covid-tests-mail.html

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Sat Jan 15, 2022, 11:46 AM

24. glad the government is using USPS for this

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