DENVER – Coloradans looking for free COVID-19 tests will still be able to pick them at recreation centers and other locations across the state despite the U.S. government citing lack of Congressional funding as the reason for ending its home delivery program later this week.
The Biden administration launched the program in January amid criticism of low inventory at pharmacies nationwide and long lines to get tested as the first wave of the omicron variant swept through the nation.
On the COVID.gov website, the administration said the program – which provided up to 16 tests to households across the country through the United States Postal Service – will be suspended Friday, Sept. 2, “because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”
Additionally, a White House official told CNN on Sunday they were also looking to preserve supply ahead of an anticipated fall surge in cases. It's unclear if the nationwide program will be revived should Congress allocate additional funding for the nation’s COVID-19 response.
While the Biden administration won’t be sending you free COVID-19 tests to your doorstep anymore after Friday, Coloradans looking to get a free test kit or two won’t be out of luck, according to a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
The statewide distribution program, which at first mailed two COVID-19 testing kits to people’s homes before pivoting in the spring to a distribution model that made them available for pick up at recreation centers, libraries and other locations, will not be affected by the lack of Congressional funding and will continue for the time being, though with some changes.
Starting in September, the CDPHE will “review distribution points to ensure that rapid tests remain available in high-impact communities where other testing options may be limited,” the spokesperson told Denver7 via email.
The state does not plan on restarting the mail delivery program it shuttered once Biden announced the USPS would be sending these testing kits to people’s homes, the spokesperson said.
So far, more than 3 million tests have been distributed to Coloradans since September 2021, the CDPHE spokesperson said. Anyone looking to pick-up free COVID-19 testing kits across the state can find all participating locations here. High-quality masks for Coloradans are also available for free and can be found at these locations.