New COVID-19 free testing site opens in northeast Raleigh

Posted November 30, 2020 1:57 p.m. EST
Updated December 1, 2020 7:37 a.m. EST

— Wake County opens a new COVID-19 testing location on Tuesday and is simplifying its sign-up process to ensure residents continue to have free and easy access to testing through the winter months.

The new site is located at 5809 Departure Drive off the I-540 Outer Beltline and Capital Boulevard near Triangle Town Center. Testing will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 1-5 and Mondays through Saturdays in the following weeks.

Wake County COVID-19 Operations Manager Eugene Chalwe says a key focus of this site is serving marginalized communities in the northeast Raleigh area. “This is one of the zip codes that we’re concerned about. And so, hopefully, we’ll bring testing closer to communities that otherwise might not have had it,” Chalwe told WRAL.

Photo Courtesy/Piedmont Health

The Departure Drive testing center is located in the 27616 zip code, one of Wake county’s hardest hit and underserved areas.

The new site will offer indoor testing in anticipation of colder temperatures. Curbside testing will also be available for residents who have limited mobility or young children in the cars, as well as those showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Wake County health leaders say this is no time to reduce COVID testing. Wake County Public Health Epidemiologist, Dr. Nicole Mushonga, told WRAL that people who are experiencing symptoms should seek testing as well as others who have had risk of exposure.

“It would depend if they have had other exposures, if they’ve had travel,” said Mushonga. “And based off of that, the CDC is recommending if they’ve had travel or maybe other exposures within three to five days getting tested.”

Dr. Mushonga said that colder temperatures could lead to more cases.

“We are seeing an increase in cases and it’s concerning if we have people gathering indoors as temperatures go down,” she said. “So, we don’t want to see that increased spread within the community.

Wake County adds new site for free COVID testing

With the move to 5809 Departure Drive, the county aims to streamline the registration process. Appointments are encouraged, but not required. Residents will need to come into the testing site with a photo ID. Tests will be self-administered and Wake County will not turn away anyone who comes for a test though wait times may be longer around the holidays.

Through a partnership with Radeas, drive-thru testing will continue at the Sunnybrook Building parking deck, located in eastern Raleigh at 2925 Holston Lane. The testing service will run Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This site will not require appointments or advance registration.

In addition to the new testing site on Departure Drive, Wake County is working with community partners to provide dozens of testing opportunities around the county at convenient locations, such as churches, parks, and other popular community sites. Radeas will maintain testing at its Wake Forest site independent of Wake County until Dec. 5; fees may apply to this site.

Wake County maintains an interactive map of testing sites and list of frequently asked questions on their website.

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