Department of Health Services: Expands Access to COVID-19 Self-Tests

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is launching an online program for Wisconsinites to get free rapid home COVID-19 tests delivered directly to them. Starting today, Wisconsin residents can visit Say Yes! COVID test website(link is external) and place an order for a set of five rapid COVID-19 antigen tests at no cost. The first supplies will allow each household to order a package which will arrive in 1 to 2 weeks.

“It’s critical that Wisconsinans have access to a COVID-19 test when they need it, and this program is delivering testing right to their doorsteps,” said DHS Secretary-designate Karen Timberlake. “We encourage all households in Wisconsin to have COVID-19 self-tests on hand to protect themselves and those around them.”

Taking a COVID-19 self-test provides results in minutes. This empowers people to make decisions that will keep those around them safe. In addition to Say Yes! COVID Testing Program, Wisconsin residents can access a COVID-19 test by:

  • Purchase self-tests at pharmacies, retail outlets or online. Self-tests are widely available at pharmacies and other retail stores across the state.
  • Use of health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare plans to cover the cost of self-tests. Private insurers and some health insurance plans continue to cover the cost of eight rapid COVID-19 tests per member each month. Members of BadgerCare Plus and most Wisconsin Medicaid programs can also receive COVID-19 testing from Medicaid-enrolled pharmacies using their ForwardHealth ID card. People are encouraged to contact their health insurance program for more information.
  • Visit a local community free test site. There are currently over 500 community testing sites statewide.
  • Contact a health care provider. Your local or tribal health department, primary health care provider, or community health center can help you find a test near you.

Additionally, DHS recently launched programs to provide local and tribal health departments, K-12 schools, and shelters with access to self-tests to distribute to the populations they serve. Thanks to these programs, nearly 464,000 self-tests have been made available to community organizations and the public since May. Test kits continue to be ordered and distributed to these entities for distribution.

“Continuing to support equitable access to COVID-19 testing remains a top priority,” DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge said. “The rapid results of a self-test allow people to test for COVID-19 at home and make decisions that will help keep them and those around them safe.”

To get reliable results and help stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to know when to get tested. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested immediately. Everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, should take a COVID-19 test five days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

If you test positive with a COVID-19 self-test, stay home, separate from others, and notify close contacts who have been exposed. Contact a doctor, community health center or pharmacy to see if any COVID-19 treatments can be recommended for you.

The Say Yes! The COVID testing program is funded in part by the US bailout and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds.

For free, confidential assistance with placing an order for your home test kit or finding health care and community resources near you, call 211. For information, resources and data related to COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit the COVID-19 webpage. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook(link is external), Twitter(link is external)or dhs.wi on Instagram(link is external) for more information on COVID-19.

About Evelyn C. Heim

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