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Offer of 4 free COVID-19 tests per household proves problematic for some

GOLETA, Calif.-Local residents and college students are not waiting for Wednesday's official launch to order free at-home COVID-19 tests via the United States Post Office at

The website went up a day early to deal with possible glitches.

College students said they didn't notice any glitches, but they did find out the government is only sending 4 free at-home tests per address, regardless of how many people live in the residence.

When Arrissa Cervantes put in an order it kicked back she said because her roommates had already ordered.

Gio Lopez put in an order after finding them sold out at local drug stores.

They are both Santa Barbara City College students who prefer to test at-home rather than stand in line at places like the Bus Test Express outside Direct Relief in Goleta.

The government offer may not be perfect, but it will save most households about $48.00.

Commercial kits such as on/go and BinaxNow sell for about $24.00 each if you can find them online or in stores.

They contain two tests per box.

Health insurance companies will now pay insured individuals back for 8 at-home tests a month depending on the insurance plan.

The U.S. Post Office will give zip codes with the highest COVID rates priority when they mail out the four free tests in the coming weeks.

If residents put their apartment numbers in the proper place online the website won't consider an apartment building a single address.

The Biden administration is in the process of buying a billion tests, and plans to offer free masks soon.

Mariah Kelly of Goleta said she plans to sign up for free at-home test kits as soon as possible.

She works at multiple locations and doesn't want to spread COVID-19 to her clients if she gets sick.

Questions about the Federal free test offer should be directed to the offices of elected officials rather than public health.

If an at-home test is positive health officials recommend staying home rather than exposing others by going out to get a PCR or polymerase chain reaction test.

PCR tests look for trace amounts of the virus DNA, while the at-home test look for antigens or proteins from the virus.

For more information on types of tests visit and to order free at-home tests sign up

We will have more the early access and reaction to the covid test website tonight on the news.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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