COVID testing available at no cost in R-C area

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is making COVID-19 testing available for free at locations throughout the state.

Locally, these community testing events are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19, Thursday, Jan. 20, and Friday, Jan. 21 at the following locations:

9 am until 12 noon at Vidant Immediate Care of Ahoskie, located at 226 South Academy Street;

8:30 am until 12 noon and again from 12:30-4 pm at Vidant Bertie Hospital, located 1403 South King Street, Windsor; and

9 am until 12 noon at Vidant Family Medicine in Roanoke Rapids, located at 1385 Medical Center Drive.

In the face of nationwide competition for testing supplies and shortages of testing staff, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is pulling all available levers to support existing testing sites, to open more sites across the state and to increase access to at-home collection kits.

With the surge, NCDHHS has ordered an additional 700,000 professional and at-home rapid test kits, bringing the total on their way to the state to more than 1 million. Priority groups for test distribution in addition to schools, health departments, long-term care facilities and health centers include farmworker camps, tribal health clinics and free and charitable clinics. A number of community-based organizations also assist with distributing tests and reaching historically marginalized populations.

In addition to the tests, NCDHHS has delivered more than 250,000 swabs, antigen kits and other testing supplies to testing partners statewide.

North Carolina’s statewide testing volume reached more than 400,000 last week. Adding in 564,000 tests the week prior, there have been nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests administered statewide over a 14-day period.

Staffing at testing sites remains the most significant challenge. Therefore, NCDHHS is encouraging vendors to implement self-swabbing where possible, as well as exploring surge staffing solutions for local health departments. Laboratory partners continue to maintain capacity to process tests quickly.

NCDHHS provides a small percentage of the statewide capacity for COVID-19 testing through vendor contracts. The bulk of testing is supplied through pharmacies, retailers and private companies. Local health departments and health systems can work with NCDHHS to extend the number of testing sites or hours by submitting a request online or through their NCDHHS point of contact.

Hundreds of community-based events, testing locations and home kit options are listed at If you know you need an appointment, book one in advance. Explore additional locations if your preferred location is busy. Please do not visit a hospital emergency department for a COVID-19 test.

Vaccines and boosters continue to provide the strongest protection against COVID-19 serious illness, hospitalizations and death. Unvaccinated individuals make up 80% of hospitalizations and 88% of COVID-19-related ICU admissions.

Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for everyone 5 and older, and boosters are available for everyone 12 and older. Go to to find a vaccine location near you.