Kristi King | [email protected]
July 18, 2022, 9:37 PM
People who have low vision or are blind can place two orders for free, accessible at-home COVID-19 tests to be delivered to them by the U.S. Postal Service.
The Biden-Harris administration launched the new initiative a few weeks ago to expand the availability of testing options that are more accessible.
“I just think it’s great for them to have this option. So that if they want to be independent to do it on their own, they can do it,” Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind President and CEO Tony Cancelosi said. “And that since it’s an app and it’s coupled with a smartphone, there’s an avenue for them to access it.”
Cancelosi calls availability of the new tests exciting and very beneficial.
People assume, incorrectly, that low vision and blind people can either go somewhere, such as an urgent care clinic for the test, or are living with someone who will do the testing for them, Cancelosi said.
The tests provide users with audible instructions and audible test results when using a compatible, Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, as well as a downloaded installed app from the App Store (for iOS) or Google Pay (for Android).
Cancelosi said it’s good that the tests work with tools many people are already accustomed to using.
“The whole technology, the app, is fully compatible with screen reader functionality, meaning that the technology that they’re going to use, it’s functional … they can use it with Adobe accessibility tools. It’s built around the technology that integrates the smartphone technology,” Cancelosi said. “And that makes it easier because then it’ll respond to them verbally.”
While supplies last, each free order includes one carton of 12 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.
The tests can be ordered by calling 800-232-0233 or ordered online.
People who need help ordering the tests, understanding the instructions or learning results can get help from the federal Disability Information and Access Line via email at [email protected], or by calling 888-677-1199 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Information on all at-home COVID-19 over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates can be found on the FDA website.
Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.
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