Wake County expanding free COVID-19 drive-thru testing due to massive demand, rise in cases

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County Public Health will be expanding free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at five county locations due to an explosion in testing demand and an increase in community spread, county officials said in a news release Wednesday.

Beginning on Aug. 16, all five of the county’s free drive-thru testing locations will run Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Demand for testing in Wake County has more than doubled, and the positivity rate has climbed more than 80 percent over the last two weeks, the release said.

All sites use self-administered PCR tests that “are painless and require people to swab just inside their nose,” according to the release. The testing is free and no ID or appointment is necessary.

Results for the PCR tests often come back within 12 to 24 hours.

“Testing is a great way to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but an even better tool to end this pandemic is vaccination,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Calabria in the release. “At four of these five testing locations, there are free vaccines available just steps away, so we hope everyone who is tested returns after their results or quarantine and gets a shot.”

The following parking lots will offer testing 12 hours a day, six days a week starting Monday:

  • Wake County Human Services-Swinburne
    2845 Kidd Road, Raleigh
  • Wake County Northern Regional Center
    350 E. Holding Ave., Wake Forest
  • Vision RDU Church
    5808 Departure Drive, Raleigh
  • Wake County Southern Regional Center
    130 N. Judd Parkway, Fuquay-Varina
  • Wake County Eastern Regional Center
    1002 Dogwood Drive, Zebulon

Two of the five locations – Kidd Road and Departure Drive – will not be operating on Saturday, Aug. 14, as the testing vendors work on making the transition to the extended hours, the county said.

At the start of the year, Wake County said it administered 145,000 tests in the month of January.

By June, spokeswoman Stacy Beard said that number had dropped to 7,500.

Last month, she said testing jumped to 12,893, and as of Monday, just nine days into August, the county said its vendors had already tested more than 15,000 people.

The county said most of the people coming for tests now are fully vaccinated.

Click here for more information on COVID-19 services that are offered in Wake County.

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