Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

AOC

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) attends the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland on November 10, 2021. (Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)

AOC Leads Call for Improved At-Home Covid Test Program

"Families living in basement apartments, renovated multifamily units, and multigenerational family households should be able to order the tests they need," said the New York Democrat.

Jessica Corbett

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed Tuesday that she is leading three dozen House Democrats in urging the Biden administration to improve its distribution program for a billion free at-home Covid-19 tests to better serve large households and residents of multifamily units.

"Our country can only be as safe from Covid as our most vulnerable communities are kept safe."

The New York Democrat and 36 other lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden last week, as his administration launched Covidtests.gov for people nationwide to order four free tests per household. Those without access to the website can order through the hotline at 1-800-232-0233.

However, as the letter highlights, "families that reside outside of a traditional single-family housing unit are having trouble ordering testing kits because the online portal does not allow more than one order per address."

As Curbed reported after the rollout, which involved a "beta" version of the site that went live the day before the official January 19 launch:

When the site to order tests went up, people who live in multifamily buildings—where about one-third of Americans live—quickly began reporting that they were unable to place orders. "At-home Covid-19 tests have already been ordered for this address," reads the error message, suggesting that someone else in the building has already requested the tests. Also not accepted: P.O. boxes and buildings associated with commercial activity.

Due to housing conditions in urban areas like Ocasio-Cortez's New York City district—which includes portions of the Bronx and Queens—city-dwellers are disproportionately impacted.

U.S. Postal Service spokesperson David Partenheimer acknowledged the issue to CNET.

"This is occurring in a small percentage of orders," he said in an email last week. "For assistance in the ordering process the USPS recommends filing a service request at https://emailus.usps.com/s/the-postal-store-inquiry or contacting our help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS, to help address the issue."

The Democrats' letter states that since the rollout, "we have received a large number of reports from constituents regarding their inability to request Covid-19 test kits as a result of not living in a single-family household."

The letter points out that "families who reside in basement apartments, renovated multifamily units, and multigenerational family households are often at the highest risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. Families living in these nonsingle family dwellings are also least likely to be able to isolate in the chance of illness."

"Thus, their ability to obtain tests is imperative to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe," the letter adds. "Our country can only be as safe from Covid as our most vulnerable communities are kept safe. "

"Given that the policy limiting one order of Covid-19 test kits per dwelling has fallen short of ensuring access and equity," the Democrats are calling on the administration "to allow families to list the number of members in their household and an associated surname, so that families who live in basement units or multifamily residences can access the appropriate number of tests."

The lawmakers' demand for reform comes as Covid-19 case numbers nationwide are higher than any previous surge, hospitalizations "appear to be reaching a national peak," and deaths continue to rise, according to The New York Times' tracker.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·


Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo