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Website for free virus tests is coming. How will it work?

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Under criticism after weeks of shortages, President Joe Biden’s administration is working to make COVID-19 rapid test kits more available and accessible to Americans by boosting supply and lowering costs. A new federal website to request free test kits launches Wednesday, with the first shipments going out to Americans by the end of the month. In addition, most Americans will be able to get reimbursed for tests that they purchase starting Saturday.

Key details about the new programs:

HOW CAN I REQUEST A FREE TEST?

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 19, free tests can be ordered at covidtests.gov. The first tests will ship by the end of January. The White House says “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service. USPS reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class package service in the continental United States. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) addresses will be sent through Priority Mail.

Importantly, given the shipping and process times, Americans will need to request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for requiring a test.

WHEN SHOULD I TEST?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at-home testing when people experience COVID-19 systems including fever, cough, sore throat, respiratory symptoms and muscle aches; five days after a potential COVID-19 exposure; or as part of test-to-stay protocols in schools and workplaces.

HOW MANY TESTS CAN I ORDER FROM THE WEBSITE?

The White House says that “to promote broad access,” shipments from covidtests.gov will initially be limited to four rapid tests per residential address, no matter the number of occupants.

IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO GET A TEST KIT FOR FREE?

Starting Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month per insured person, according to a new Biden administration rule.

People will have the option of buying tests at a store or online, then seeking reimbursement from their health insurance provider. Insurers are being incentivized to work with pharmacies and retailers to develop plans to cover the cost of the tests with no out-of-pocket cost to customers, but those programs will not be immediately widespread.

Those with public health insurance through Medicare, or without insurance, will be directed to covidtests.gov to order tests or to community health centers in their area offering free testing.

HOW WILL I BE REIMBURSED?

The Biden administration says the procedures will differ from insurer to insurer, and it is encouraging Americans to save receipts from rapid test purchases for later reimbursement and to reach out to their insurance providers for information.

Critically, the requirement only covers purchases on or after Saturday. Insurers are not expected to retroactively reimburse the cost of tests purchased earlier.

WHAT ARE OTHER TESTING OPTIONS?

The Biden administration is emphasizing that the website is just one tool for Americans to access COVID-19 testing. Millions of free tests are available at participating pharmacy locations, community health centers and Federal Emergency Management Agency-backed sites in some parts of the country experiencing a surge in cases.

WHICH HOME TEST WILL I GET?

That will vary. The federal government has secured more than 420 million tests for distribution through covidtests.gov already, with plans to increase the order to 1 billion tests in the coming weeks. All of the tests supplied will be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and are capable of detecting the more-transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19, which is the dominant strain in the U.S. While they are packaged differently and may use slightly different procedures, officials said, the test mechanisms of detection and effectiveness are generally the same. All tests will come with detailed instructions.

WHY IS BIDEN BUYING THESE TEST KITS?

It represents an acknowledgement by the president that the administration needs to do more to increase access to COVID-19 testing, which is an important tool to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In cases where infected people show symptoms or not, testing is the only way to find out if they have the virus so they can avoid being out and about and potentially spreading disease.

Demand for test kits soared as the holidays neared and people grew eager to test themselves and their families before traveling and as the omicron variant spread rapidly in just a few weeks to become the dominant strain in the U.S.

Biden’s promise of 1 billion test kits is in addition to the administration’s earlier pledge to send 50 million rapid tests to community health centers across the country.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROGRAM COST?

The White House estimates the cost of purchasing and distributing the first 500 million tests at about $4 billion. That will be paid for with money from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Biden signed into law in March.

WILL THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM MAKE IT HARDER FOR ME TO FIND A TEST AT THE DRUGSTORE?

White House officials say the covidtests.gov tests are coming from new manufacturing capacity and should not interfere with existing supplies that drugstores, health clinics and state governments are relying on.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Miami-Dade School Board Narrows Down Search For New Superintendent

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami-Dade School Board met Tuesday for hours to discuss efforts to replace outgoing superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

The list of candidates is down to three ahead of a future meeting that will involve public input.

READ MORE: Driver In Wilton Manors Hit-And-Run That Killed Two Children Pleaded Not Guilty

“We have identified 3 individuals by names,” said Lubby Navarro, District 7 School Board member.

The board’s vice-chair Dr. Steve Gallon made his recommendation for the next leader.

READ MORE: Search On For Man Who Shot Woman At The Landings In Pembroke Pines

“I would like to make a motion to make Dr. Jose Dotres as the new superintendent of schools,” says Dr. Gallon. “I stand in my charge; I am prepared with the three to have a conversation of who checks off all the boxes.”

The other two individuals include Jacob Oliva and Dr. Rafaela Espinal.

Some board members expressed interest in wanting a process where candidates would attend a public meeting soon.

MORE NEWS: Grammy Awards Rescheduled For April 3 in Las Vegas On CBS

“The majority wants a public process and I want a public meeting so my community can hear,” said Navarro.

Austin Carter

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Grammy Awards Rescheduled For April 3 in Las Vegas On CBS

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MIAMI (CBSLA)The 64th annual Grammy Awards will now be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3, the Recording Academy has announced.

The ceremony was originally scheduled for Jan. 31 at Crypto.com Arena in downtown Los Angeles but was postponed due to growing concerns surrounding the Omicron variant.

READ MORE: Driver In Wilton Manors Hit-And-Run That Killed Two Children Pleaded Not Guilty

Trevor Noah will return as master of ceremonies.

With the Grammy ceremony shifting airdates, the CMT Music Awards will move from its originally scheduled date of Sunday, April 3 to a later date in April.

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Information about the date and location of the awards show will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Once we realized the need to move the GRAMMY Awards to a later date due to current health concerns, we came together quickly with our partners at the Recording Academy and CMT, to strategically reschedule these two incredible music events and utilize the full power of the ViacomCBS ecosystem to promote them,” said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music, Live Events & Alternative Programming, CBS. “Coming out of an exciting month of college basketball on CBS, we’re thrilled to continue our programming momentum with these two big live events for television in the spring.”

“We are excited to take the GRAMMYs to Las Vegas for the very first time, and to put on a world-class show,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “From the moment we announced the postponement of the original show date, we have been inundated with heartfelt messages of support and solidarity from the artist community. We are humbled by their generosity and grateful for their unwavering commitment to the GRAMMY Awards and the Academy’s mission. We appreciate the leadership CBS has shown during these challenging weeks and the flexibility of the CMTs and others who worked toward this solution.”

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The 2022 Grammy Awards will now broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena from 8:00-11:30 p.m. on CBS Television Network and available live and on demand on Paramount+.

CBSMiami.com Team

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Broward County State Attorney’s Office To Investigate Alleged Corruption By Miami Officials

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has recused herself and her office in the ongoing investigation into corruption claims made by former Mami Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The Broward County State Attorney’s Office will take over over the investigation after Governor Ron DeSantis ordered Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor to take it over.

According to a letter sent to the governor, Fernandez Rundle discovered a conflict of interest, saying that, “a substantial witness to potential wrongdoing is the brother of a senior attorney” in her office.

The investigation was opened when weeks before being fired, Acevedo wrote a memo accusing City of Miami commissioners Joe Carollo, Alex de la Portilla and Manolo Reyes of corruption.

CBSMiami.com Team

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