COVID-19 tests

The Postal Service will deliver 500 million rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits to households across the nation, beginning this month.

USPS will ship the kits through a partnership with the White House, which has set up, a website where people can order the kits for free.

“The United States Postal Service is proud to fulfill its mission of service to the nation by delivering COVID test kits as a part of this important public health initiative of the Biden administration,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Tests will be available for every U.S. household, including those in U.S. territories. Tests can also be shipped to U.S. military and diplomatic addresses overseas.

To promote broad access, the initial program will allow for four free tests per residential address.

The program is intended to ensure that people have rapid at-home COVID-19 tests available in the weeks and months ahead, as they have the need to test.

When placing an order, there will be an option for people to provide an email address to receive notifications with updates, including a confirmation email.

Once an order is shipped, the person who placed the order will receive an email with an estimated delivery date and a number to track the status on has more information, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has self-testing guidance.

Big reach

The Postal Service has designated Jan. 24 as Rural Reach Day, which celebrates the organization’s lead-sharing program for rural carriers.

USPS districts will hold events to thank rural carriers for contributing to the Rural Reach program, which has generated more than $817 million in estimated annualized revenue since it began in 2008.

For this year’s Every Lead Counts sales lead campaign, rural carriers have submitted more than 4,300 leads, up 43 percent from the same period last year and generating more than $11.6 million in revenue.

So far this year, 2.76 percent of all rural carriers have submitted at least one lead through Rural Reach. The Small Business Solutions team has a goal of 10 percent participation in the program by the end of the year.

“Every time a new rural carrier submits a lead, the participation percentage grows,” said Lou DeRienzo, small-business senior sales specialist at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

One rural carrier who has contributed toward this year’s numbers is Juliana Gomez.

The Nipomo, CA, employee noticed that a pharmacy on her route was using a competitor for all its shipping.

After speaking with the customer, she submitted a lead through Rural Reach.

Martin Juarez, a business development specialist, and Harold Thompson Jr., a senior sales representative, followed up with the customer and closed a shipping deal worth $90,500.

“Juliana’s simple question to the customer of ‘Would you like to speak to our sales department to see if we can save you money on your shipping costs?’ helped the customer and brought more revenue to USPS,” DeRienzo said.

The Sales Blue page has more information about the Postal Service’s employee lead-sharing programs.

Winter health

The Postal Service wants employees to take precautions to avoid frostbite, hypothermia and other winter health hazards.

Here’s what you should know:

• Frostbite occurs when skin and the underlying tissue freeze after being exposed to extreme cold for long periods. The fingers, toes and feet are most commonly affected, but other extremities such as the nose, ears and cheeks can also develop frostbite.

• At the first sign of frostbite, get out of the cold. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t walk on frostbitten feet or toes. Don’t rub the frostbitten area because it will cause more damage.

• Warm the affected area using body heat or by immersing in warm water; avoid using a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator for warming because direct heat can burn damaged tissue.

• Drink warm beverages to replace lost fluids. In case of severe frostbite, seek medical attention.

• Hypothermia, which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can be produced, can be deadly if you don’t catch it in time. Signs include memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.

• If you experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 imme•diately and notify your supervisor.

The Safety Blue page has more information, including Safety Depends on Me! videos on working in winter weather.