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Residents Living In Multi-Family Homes Running Into Issues Getting Their Fed-Issued At-Home COVID Tests Through USPS

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The federal government's plan to send rapid COVID-19 tests to homes through the U.S. Postal Service doesn't appear to be working for everyone.

Meagan Furman lives in a house in Beacon, New York, that is split into three different units and is occupied by 10 people. When she went to apply for free COVID tests through the USPS website it said the address was already used to claim the four tests per household that are offered.

"I was like, 'Oh wow, this is easy.' You just put in your name and your address, submit, and then it kicks back with you already have one for your house," Furman told CBS2's Meg Baker on Wednesday.

Her neighbor successfully placed an order, so Furman was locked out.

"I'm laughing because I'm like, well, what was the point of the census people knocking on my door 20,000 times last year?" Furman said.


She called her local post office, but got no help. She called the help line -- 1-800-ASK-USPS -- and was redirected back to the website to create a service request.

She's frustrated, like many others.

"Every time that I've tried to take advantage of something that's out there it's, I seem to be hitting like a setback," Furman said.

FIND TESTING SITES: Click here for New York City's testing site locator, including mobile sites and at-home appointments

AVOID THE LINES: Click here for NYC Health+Hospitals testing wait times

Dr. Lauren Powell, a former state health equity official, said the test kit rollout is a positive thing, but some people are being left out.

"Folks who may not use computers all the time. Folks who don't have access to the internet," Powell said.

Monthly deliveries are limited to four tests per address. Some households have more than four residents.

"We know that there are multi-generational households that are highly concentrated in Black and brown communities, immigrant communities, where it is not outside the norm to have grandparents and uncles and cousins all living under one roof," Powell said.


Dr. David Collymore oversees community health clinics in the Bronx and Queens.

"I applaud the federal government and the local governments for their efforts in getting it out to communities, but we also must be aware that every community does not have same level of equity and access," Collymore said.

CBS2 reached out to the USPS, which said there are very limited cases of addresses that are not registered as multi-unit buildings. However, the agency did not touch on overall inequalities in acquiring tests.

For more on how to fill out service request form, please click here.

For more information on how you can get free COVID tests from the government, please click here.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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