Jan. 20, 2022 -- Some residents of apartments and other multi-unit buildings report being unable to order free COVID-19 tests from the U.S. Postal Service website.
The Biden administration rolled out the website on Tuesday, part of a promise to make 1 million home testing kits available to the public. Four tests for each residence can be ordered for free through the USPS website, where a person enters their name and address.
But some residents of multi-unit dwellings went onto social media to say they tried but were not able to order the free tests, Politico reported. The residents said the USPS website gave them error messages saying tests had already been ordered for their address.
The USPS said the problem occurred because some apartments are not being registered as multi-unit dwellings.
A small number of orders were affected, an administration official told Politico. People who get the error message can file a service request with the USPS or call the USPS help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS. An administration official said a hotline for people who couldn’t order testing kits should be set up by the end of the week, Politico reported.
The official added that the first 20% of test orders will be sent to ZIP codes with a high proportion of COVID cases and deaths.
“This will help ensure those most in need of the tests are receiving them as quickly as possible,” said the official, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the site.
The Tuesday launch was considered a “beta test” to work out kinks in the system, with the official launch on Wednesday.
“Every website launch in our view comes with risk. We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. “But the best tech teams across the administration and the Postal Service are working hard to make this a success.”
The Biden administration points out that thousands of free testing sites are available across the nation and that people who buy home tests can be reimbursed by insurance.
Politico noted that government website launches often run into problems, such as HealthCare.gov under the Obama administration, which crashed on the first day of open enrollment.