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Wake County able to keep up with COVID-19 testing, while others lag

Rising cases mean more exposure, and a growing need for testing. WRAL News has received dozens of complaints that people are waiting longer -- both to get tested and get their results.

Posted Updated

Keely Arthur
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Rising cases mean more exposure, and a greater need for testing.

Wake County officials said extreme wait times are rare. In almost all cases, people will receive their test results within 24 hours.

However, most tests will get back to patients within 17 to 12 hours, Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria told WRAL News.

Calabria said he's proud of the county's coronavirus testing systems.

"People will find a better experience and less wait going through our testing process than they will in so many other daily functions," said Calabria.

WRAL talked to people who've been tested throughout Wake County at public and privately run testing sites within the last 10 days. Results have returned quickly in some cases - the same day or 24 hours after testing - but others up to two days, and in one case, four days.

Calabria said at the county, they are consistent. The county has received zero complaints regarding wait times, as of late. However, if there are wait times, Calabria said to contact the county.

"They're always free to contact us," he said. "Of course, we remind people to check their spam folder and make sure the IT side is working properly because that is the most common reason."

While Wake County is seeing more people get tested, it isn't the county's first experience. They've been testing people since the pandemic began in March 2020, and officials said they know how to scale up or down depending on need and are working with their partners to do that.

"On occasion, there might be a wait but you're going to wait a lot longer going to any doctor ... or when you get your car's oil changed," said Calabria.

Other counties across central North Carolina said they have not seen a dramatic increase in testing times.

A spokesperson for Orange County said test results come back within 24 to 48 hours. The spokesperson added that testing in the county has been relatively low, so test results are coming back quickly.

Testing has not increased in Northampton County as well, according to a spokesperson. Someone getting tested for the virus should expect to wait 48 to 72 hours for results, which has not increased at all.

In Hoke County, a spokesperson said that while testing has increased, it is not as high as it was during spring. The wait time for test results depends on the tests performed, but the county has not seen an increase in overall wait times for test results.

Testing sites in Wake County are open five days a week.


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