ROCKINGHAM — Rapid COVID testing is once again available at the drive-thru site behind the Richmond County Health Department.
The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon on the department’s Facebook page.
The department had announced on Jan. 6 that it was out of rapid tests, due to the surge in residents getting tested.
According to Wednesday’s post, individuals can opt for rapid testing or PCR testing, but not both. PCR testing, which requires several days for results to be returned, is still available in the parking lot of Cole Auditorium.
Testing hours are Monday-Friday behind the Health Department from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and at the Cole from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., as well as from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays at both locations.
The Health Department has reported 135 new cases in the past two days — 25 on Tuesday and 110 on Wednesday — bringing the county’s pandemic total to 12,203. Thirty-four percent of those cases have been so far this year.
Richmond County Schools reported a total of eight cases on its COVID Tracker Wednesday. The five student cases included two at each Richmond Senior High School and Mineral Springs Elementary, and one at Hamlet Middle. Central Services, L.J. Bell and Richmond Senior each had one staff case.
There have been 1,325 student cases since the school year began in August, an increase of 12 in two days. The total number of staff cases now stands at 308. Richmond Senior tops both the student and staff lists with 292 and 39 cases, respectively.
Although statewide cases rose slightly on Wednesday to 10,513, that number is less than a majority of the days in January, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The county’s positivity rate is at 27% while the statewide rate is 20.2%.
The past two days have seen COVID-related hospitalizations across the state drop below 4,000 for the first time since Jan. 10. NCDHHS reported 3,812 on Tuesday.
Likewise, FirstHealth’s COVID-positive patient census also dropped to 77 of 419 (18.4%) on Wednesday. The Health Department reported that 14 residents were hospitalized, which is a 40% decrease from last week.
The Health Department also reported another COVID-related death on Tuesday, bringing the total to 185. That makes seven deaths for the month of February and 26 for 2022.
The federal government last month began taking orders for at-home kits at covidtests.gov. Each family is eligible for four free kits.
Vaccines and boosters are available for those who want them at the Health Department from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8-11 a.m. on Fridays.
Vaccines have been authorized for adults and children as young as 5 years old.
According to NCDHHS, 21,15 Richmond County residents (47%) are considered fully vaccinated and 8,617 have received booster shots.