Home Local News NCDHHS invests more in at-home COVID-19 testing strategy, reinforces surge capacity

NCDHHS invests more in at-home COVID-19 testing strategy, reinforces surge capacity

COVID-19 home testing kits. Photo by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

RALEIGH —The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is doubling down on at-home testing — establishing Community Access Points in all counties to provide free and easy COVID-19 tests for home use. Starting July 1, people will be able to find home tests at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, NCDHHS has gone the extra mile to meet people where they are, with the tools they need to protect themselves from COVID-19. Home tests are now widely available, unlike the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their ease has made them the test of choice. NCDHHS is working to emphasize at-home testing access through community distribution sites across the state as is key to our Moving Forward Together (Spanish) strategy.

“Our new at-home testing distribution program will allow people the convenience and access of at-home COVID-19 testing options,” said Dr. Susan Kansagra, NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health. “We are prepared to meet testing needs for priority populations across North Carolina, especially for historically marginalized communities.”

NCDHHS will make access to these tests free and convenient by establishing Community Access Points in all counties. Community organizations interested in becoming a Community Access Point can register online. Current information on how and where to find tests in North Carolina is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests.

As at-home testing community distribution sites open, NCDHHS will maintain some fixed site testing locations supported by the state. State-supported sites collectively have provided more than 2.4 million tests over the last two years. However, since the Omicron surge, state-supported sites now make up just 6% percent of all tests reported to NCDHHS. Many counties and providers have and will continue to operate fixed testing sites and testing will still be available at many pharmacies through the federal community-based testing program.

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NCDHHS will continue to maintain sites in counties where vendor-supported testing is required to ensure equitable access or where the average distance to a testing site would increase by more than one mile if a vendor were removed. An ongoing, up-to-date locator tool for all testing sites, including Community Access Points, will be available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests starting July 1.

In addition, NCDHHS remains prepared to support a surge in testing demand in all 100 counties if needed. The department will continue to evaluate and react to feedback and trends in COVID-19 spread and will continue to adapt as needs change.

Get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, even if you are up to date on your vaccines, or if you have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Get tested at least five days after you last had close contact. Some people may get tested if they were referred by their school or workplace or for travel. For more information and to find tests, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests (Spanish).

If you test positive, stay away from others and follow the CDC’s isolation guidelines. Seek medical care immediately if you have trouble breathing or experience other warning signs. COVID-19 treatments are available and can lower your risk of hospitalization or death. For more information, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTreatment.

Staying up to date on vaccination and boosters offers the best protection against COVID-19 for anyone 6 months of age and older. Find a vaccine location near you at MySpot.nc.gov or by calling 888-675-4567.

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