Wake County Expands Free Drive-Thru Testing Program Starting Monday

Beginning Aug. 16, all five sites will run 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday–Saturday

With demand for COVID-19 testing more than doubling, community spread of the virus increasing and positivity rates climbing more than 80% in the past two weeks, Wake County Public Health will be expanding its free drive-thru testing program beginning Monday, Aug. 16.

Starting next week, all five drive-thru testing locations throughout the county will run Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is no cost, no ID required and no appointments necessary. All sites use self-administered PCR tests, which are painless and require people to swab just inside their nose. Results should come back within 12–24 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. “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 at shot.”

To accommodate the testing vendors who are making this transition, the two Raleigh testing locations on Kidd Road and Departure Drive will NOT be operating THIS Saturday, August 14. The three regional center locations in Wake Forest, Fuquay-Varina and Zebulon (listed below) WILL be operating 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The following locations will test 12 hours a day, six days a week starting Monday:

No time to swing by a test site? We've got you covered with FREE at-home testing kits from the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Tests can be ordered online, arrive the next day and can be shipped to the lab in a postage-paid envelope. Results are usually available in 1–2 days.

How do we test? Several tents are set up in the parking lots at each location. Staff will hand out free test kits to drivers or others in the vehicles. To register the test, hover a cell phone camera over the code on the kit, which links to a website. Users enter basic contact information so test results can be sent directly via text or email. The self-administered test involves taking a swab, circling it around in the lower part of each nostril several times and then placing the swab into a small vial. The vial is placed in a zipped bag and handed back to staff on site. Results will be sent to you in 12-24 hours. 

When should you test? Testing is available to anyone who feels they need a test, but especially recommended if someone has COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status. Symptoms include sore throat, congestion, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath or nausea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advise that vaccinated people be tested if they come into contact with someone with COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms. Please remember to follow the 3Ws: Wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth; Wait six feet apart to avoid close contact; and Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. 

For more information, go to wakegov.com/testing.

You can find additional testing locations at Test Site Finder on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website.

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