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Free COVID-19 tests from the government are arriving in mailboxes. Here's how they can help ease the strain on testing sites.

Earlier this week, the federal government website to order free at home COVID-19 tests went live and those tests are already arriving in people's mailboxes.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The federal website for ordering COVID-19 tests to be delivered to your home recently went live. Now, residents in the Coastal Bend are starting to get their orders.

Officials said that these at-home COVID-19 tests can significantly help ease the stress that testing sites are currently experiencing.

"We have a lot of people going through our drive-thru, close to 1,000 per day," Dr. Kim Onufrak said. "It's stressing out the lab, it's stressing out our staff."

According to officials, the drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Memorial Hospital is seeing inflated wait times because of the high volume of tests. While a PCR test is best, results for those could take anywhere from a few days to over a week.

An at-home test? Those usually only take 15 minutes. But if you're symptomatic, you should be careful.

"If you're symptomatic and your test comes out negative, it could be a false negative because the viral load isn't high enough," Onufrak said. "If you test too early, it's not going to give you a good read."

The drive-thru testing site at Memorial Hospital is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dr. Onufrak said if you do use an at home test and get a positive result, please report it to the health district so they can account for those numbers.

You can submit those accounts through their website.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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