Since June 2020, Wake County Public Health has conducted more than 1.5 million tests for COVID-19 to the public. With free home tests, multiple community testing sites, and readily available effective vaccine and treatment options, Wake County Public Health decided to gradually reduce its five major testing sites.
On Monday, June 6, Wake County Public Health will begin to reduce the number of meetings available and the days on which testing is offered. The last day of in-car testing at county sites will be Friday, July 29.
“Thanks to federal funding and the incredible staff working through the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter, Wake County has been offering fast, convenient and free tests for almost two years in a row,” said Wake County Council Commissioner Sig Sig Hutchinson. “Tests for COVID-19 do not disappear. With an abundance of home test kits and other testing sites throughout the community, there will be many opportunities for people to stay safe and healthy.
Leaders also addressed funding and staffing issues when considering this downsizing. Outdoor testing of COVID-19 at this level is extremely expensive and maintaining staff for eight hours a day, six days a week is a challenge.
In total, Wake County has spent $ 131 million since the start of the testing program and has sometimes been forced to supplement suppliers’ staff with county staff. Federal funding for COVID-19 has almost disappeared. To continue testing in June, Wake County is using its own $ 2 million a month for local taxpayers.
To help the public prepare for this change, Wake County is sharing its plan so residents will know what to expect in the next two months:
- Monday, June 6: Reduce the number of available weekly meetings from 11,600 to 8,400 and stop Saturday testing. Opening hours and places will remain the same.
- Monday, June 20: Reduce the number of available weekly meetings to 6400. Opening hours and places will remain the same.
- Tuesday, July 5: Reduce the number of available weekly commitments to 2700 and stop testing at the Visions Church / Departure Drive location in Raleigh. Testing will only be available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but opening hours will remain the same.
- Friday, July 29: Last day of Wake County Public Health Tests.
The changes announced today will not affect anyone who has already scheduled a test appointment. Testing arrangements will still be needed and can be made at wakegov.com/testing.
Other test options for COVID-19
Although testing of the county is coming to an end, his commitment to keep our community safe and aware of the resources at its disposal is not.
Testing is available throughout Wake County at doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies. Currently, driving testing is still available through government sites from Mako Medical. The Radeas Labs location in Wake Forest is also open seven days a week. All places and opening hours can be found on our COVID-19 test page.
COVID-19 tests at home
- Federal Program: Every home in the United States has the right to order a third round of free home tests. This latest update offers up to eight rapid household antigen tests. The tests can be ordered at covid.gov/tests. There are no costs for the tests and no shipping fees.
- Government Program: The NC Department of Health and Human Services and LabCorp also have a program for ask for free home test kits. These PCR tests must be sent back to the laboratory in an envelope with paid postage.
- Wake County Public Health is preparing to distribute antigen test kits at home to various locations in the county. Until the quantities are exhausted, four free household test kits will be available. Staff will give priority to giving them to community members who cannot be tested by other methods. Plans to distribute these kits will be shared in the coming weeks.
Two years of testing
Wake County Public Health began offering tests in June 2020, the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, in-car testing has become a key element in the fight against the virus.
During the Omicron jump in January 2022, the sites in some cases performed an average of more than 10,000 tests per day. Specialized personnel have served in snow, ice, heat waves and between thunderstorms. The rapid conversion of results offered by our partners at Radeas Labs has allowed residents to know their status within 24 hours and be able to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“We are so grateful to our staff, volunteers and community partners who helped make Wake County public health tests a reliable and fast option for our residents,” said Dr. Nicole Mushonga. Wake County Associate Physician and Program Director of Epidemiology. “Before there was a vaccine, there was only testing, and it was a life-saving tool to prevent people who were sick or exposed to the virus from spreading it to their loved ones and our vulnerable populations.
Stay up to date
Visit the multilingual Wake County COVID-19 website for the latest information on COVID-19. It includes a set of frequently asked questions about educating residents, COVID-19 vaccine information, COVID-19 test sites and the latest data on how the virus affects our county.
Also, check out important updates on COVID-19 in Wake County Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.