Monday, September 25, 2023

NHC PanOps Center to stop on-site Covid testing

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — In December the county put $3.7 million toward operating the Pandemic Operations Center on Greenfield Street to handle Covid vaccinations, testing and other health needs that had weighed down resources at public health and human services department. It announced Friday that PanOps will no longer provide on-site Covid-19 testing as part of its outreach.

Testing availability has increased in various entities, such as the federal government’s free at-home kits mailed throughout the year and other offerings in the community. Mostly, the move comes as a result of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) ending “allowance for Point-of-Care COVID-19 tests to be used for non-symptomatic persons,” a release from the county noted.

READ MORE: New Hanover County puts $3.7M toward Pandemic Operations Team to ease burden on public health staff

Even though on-site testing has halted at PanOps, the center will continue to offer free at-home Covid-19 tests for individuals. The kits can be retrieved during operating hours, Monday through Friday, and the PanOps team will be able to assist individuals and answer questions about the tests.

“This change in our operations will allow us to increase vaccinations days and opportunities, as well as outreach efforts in the community,” Pandemic Operations Manager Jon Campbell said in a release.

The center provides all vaccines, including the updated Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters. The inoculations fight against both the original Covid-19 strain and the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.  

New Hanover County remains at low Covid-19 community level, according to the CDC. Over the last week, 8.9% of tests have returned positive results. Precautions are still urged to continue the pace.

Around 64% of county residents have been fully vaccinated, the county confirms. Since March 2020, when the first Covid case was detected in New Hanover, the county has had over 60,000 cases, resulting in 442 deaths.

Appointments for initial vaccines or boosters are recommended but not required. The are available at updated days and times starting next week:   

  • Mondays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.   
  • Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.   
  • Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 
  • Thursdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.   
  • Fridays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.   

More information can be found here.  

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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