LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles County Friday officially began a pilot at-home COVID-19 testing program aimed at providing easier access to tests for select residents.

The program, which was previewed earlier this week by health officials, will be offered through Jan. 15 in an effort to increase access to testing over the holiday season.

"As the surge in cases and hospitalizations continues, L.A. County is trying innovative ways to meet the testing demand and stem the community spread of the virus," Dr. Clemens Hong, who oversees COVID-19 testing for the county's Department of Health Services, said in a statement. "We are doing everything we can to make sure testing is available to all. This allows us to reach even more people -- and they don't have to risk exposing others by leaving their homes. It's an important step for combating the virus in L.A. County." 

The at-home tests will be made available to people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, those who have had contact or suspected contact with a coronavirus patient, and to seniors or people with disabilities who believe they may have been exposed but are unable to visit a testing site.

The pilot program will use "Picture COVID-19" tests developed by Fulgent Genetics and approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The kits will be mailed to people who register online, and the samples can be returned by FedEx. Results will be sent by email within two days, according to the county.

Residents can see if they are eligible for the program on the county's COVID testing website