Friday, March 24, 2023

New Hanover County giving out free Covid-19 tests Thursday, ahead of New Year’s celebrations

Public health nurse Tammy Dilling shows how she will administer a nasal swab to New Hanover County residents reporting symptoms of Covid-19. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Local health authorities have played an invaluable role in the on-the-ground fight against the pandemic. (Port City Daily/Mark Darrough)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — New Hanover County Health and Human Services is offering 630 free, drive-thru Covid-19 tests Thursday to encourage a “safe start to the New Year.”

The testing will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Health and Human Services Annex, located at 1507 Greenfield St. It is available regardless of insurance status.

The tests will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Results are available within 15 minutes.

Each person will need to fill out a form with their name, date of birth and phone number. Parents and guardians will need to complete consent forms for their children to receive a test.

“Following conversations with area medical providers, it is clear that there is a need to have more community testing to understand and monitor the spread of COVID in New Hanover County,” Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko stated in a press release. “We were able to acquire additional testing supplies from the state that will allow us to offer expanded testing to the community. This drive-thru event will allow residents in need to get tested and know if they have COVID so they can make proper decisions about whether to isolate over the coming days.”

Covid-19 metrics are continuing to rise locally. New Hanover County’s percent positivity test rate has risen from 2.7% in mid-November to 11.6%. The average of new cases per day was down to 14.5 last month but is now up to 75.2, with 1,053 people in New Hanover County testing positive for Covid-19 over the past 14 days.

“We are currently seeing an increase in cases and positivity rates, and we aren’t even two weeks past Christmas – which is when we will likely see even more cases,” Fayko said. “Because of this, we are strongly recommending everyone, no matter your vaccination status, wear a mask when you are around people you do not live with, social distance when possible, wash hands frequently and get vaccinated or your booster dose as soon as possible. All of these things done together can help keep our COVID cases down, keep people out of the hospital and keep our community safe – but we all must take these steps together to accomplish that.”

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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