With COVID-19 cases rising, health officials anticipate more illness and hospitalizations in North Carolina and nationwide in the coming months.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 623 people were hospitalized with COVID last week. That’s a slight drop from the week prior with 638 hospitalizations, but health officials still urge people to get vaccinated to protect themselves.
“Despite the fact that COVID-19 burden is currently lower than at previous points in the pandemic, there are still thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths each week,” Dr. Megan Wallace with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. “The majority of the U.S. population has some level of immunity due to infection, vaccination, or both. However, vaccine and infection-induced immunity wanes, and new variants have emerged.”
If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, health officials say you wait at least five days before taking a test. But if you’re sick with symptoms, you should get tested immediately.
Several resources are available to get tested for free — even if you don’t have insurance. Here’s what to know if you get sick
Where to get tested for free and find at-home COVID test kits
Test to Treat offers onsite testing and treatment at local pharmacies and health care centers across the state. NCDHHS says insurance is not required, but you may be charged a fee depending on the location. You can also sign up to get tested at one of the CDC Increasing Community Access to Testing sites for free. Here are other locations in North Carolina that may offer tests for free or at a low cost:
Local independent pharmacies
Walmart in partnership with Quest Diagnostics
A local health center
A local health department
If you want to test yourself at home, you can order one through the Department of Health and Human Services or the state health department.
The Biden administration recently provided more funding to produce free home test kits to be delivered to residents across the country. Beginning Sept. 25, every household can order four free tests through www.covid.gov/tests.
NCDHHS also has partnered with Community Access Points to provide at-home test kits for free pick up. If you visit the state health department website, you can enter your ZIP code online and find a test pickup location nearby.