New Hanover County To Open Drive-Through Diagnostic Testing For The Coronavirus

Apr 28, 2020

Starting Wednesday, April 29th, New Hanover County will offer free drive-through diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. The County will continue this service for four weeks, to help determine how the virus is affecting the Cape Fear Region. WHQR explains how the process will work.

Seven county public health nurses are standing by -- ready to screen residents for symptoms of COVID-19 via the County’s Public Health Call Center. If the information the person provides meets the criteria for testing, they will receive an appointment for the drive-through site in downtown Wilmington -- near the Schwartz Center. 

Residents will stay in their cars -- and they should wear a mask. If they don’t have one -- nurses will provide one. 

Tammy Dilling is a frontline public health nurse -- and she’s also  co-manager of the drive-through site. She says it’s about a 48-to-72 hour wait for test results -- and if a resident tests positive, 

“They’ll get a call from a County nurse, and they will be instructed what to do, they’re to self-isolate until they are symptom free for 72 hours, according to CDC guidelines.” 

Jessica Loeper is Chief Communications Officer for New Hanover County. She says the tests will provide better data on what’s really happening in the community:

"This expanded testing effort is one of the most aggressive in the state in terms of the number of people that will be tested. So the plan is, over the next four weeks to test around 2,400 people. So that’s a really big step for this County and throughout North Carolina where that testing ability has been pretty limited.”

Loeper says this new testing capability will inform how both the County and the Region move forward on restrictions and reopening processes. 

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Click here for all the information regarding the process and testing criteria for New Hanover County’s drive-through site. 

The number for the County's Virus Call Center is 910-798-6800. The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Residents should be ready to give the following information to the public health nurse: name, phone number, address, types of symptoms and the date symptoms started.

According to New Hanover County officials, residents eligible for testing are those who:

  • Are currently experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Have limited access to a healthcare provider who will order a COVID-19 test, financial barriers to obtain a test, or have no direct healthcare access.
  • Have been pre-screened by the Coronavirus Call Center and provided with an appointment for testing.

Public health nurses will be wearing proper PPE when residents arrive for their appointments. 

Interpreters are available both at the Call Center -- and at the Testing Site. 

County testing results will be shared here, starting on Thursday, April 30th.