No-Cost COVID-19 Testing

HOLIDAY/WEATHER DELAYS & CLOSINGS

Wake County Public Health's five testing sites will be CLOSED Monday, Jan. 17 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Four NCDHHS/Mako sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. See locations below. 

Now by Appointment Only! COVID-19 Testing, with graphic of test tube and swab

Wake County Public Health offers FIVE drive-thru COVID-19 testing locations with APPOINTMENTS six days a week. There is no cost to make an appointment and no ID or insurance are needed. All sites use self-administered PCR tests, which are painless and require people to swab just inside their nose. Results should come back in less than 12 hours.

Appointments are REQUIRED

Appointments can be made seven days out. Click below or call 1-888-675-4567 (M-F, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Weekends/holidays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 

Surge in demand for testing across the country means you may have to wait in line for your appointment. HELP US SPEED UP YOUR TESTING PROCESS:

  • Please do NOT come to a Public Health testing site without an appointment. If you show up without an appointment, you'll be asked to move out of the line of cars, make an appointment (with our assistance if required) and drastically delay when you can be tested!  
  • Please do NOT come hours early for your appointment. If everyone comes during their allotted time - things will move MUCH more smoothly. Our appointment system is SPECIFICALLY set up so not everyone shows up at once and causes severe backups. Showing up early will NOT get anyone through faster. 
  • Please have the QR code from your appointment confirmation email pulled up on your phone as you drive up - staff can then scan it and in seconds you'll move through to get your test kit.
  • If you make an appointment at our busiest site at the Wake County Health and Human Services parking lot (also known as our Swinburne Building) – please enter the site via Sunnybrook Road. Traffic will NOT be allowed to enter from Kidd Rd. We’ve added additional staff and signage that’s already increased the flow of traffic entering the site from Sunnybrook Road.  

Testing Site Locations

Wake County Public Health Testing Sites

All Wake County testing sites are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays

Additional No-Cost Testing Locations

Baptist on Mission has partnered with Radeas Labs to offer drive-thru testing in Wake County. No appointments, no pre-registration, and no out-of-pocket costs. Insurance accepted, but not required. (Please note: the Southbridge Fellowship Church testing location on Strickland Road in Raleigh has MOVED):  

-------
NCDHHS and its testing vendor, Mako Medical, have four drive-thru testing sites in Wake County. These sites run 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. No appointments are needed, registration is required. Results in 24-48 hours. There are no out-of-pocket costs. Insurance information is requested on the registration form, however insurance is not necessary. 

WEATHER DELAY! MON., JANUARY 17 - Four sites below open 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 


------------
The following five sites, sponsored by United Providers of Health, offer ongoing PCR tests with results back from the lab within 24–48 hours (via email). Register for time slot at any of them by calling  800-701-1023 or registering here.

 

At Home Self-Testing Program - Limited Supply

** Due to extremely high demand and limited supply, there may be delays in requesting and/or receiving an at-home testing kit from NCDHHS.  ** 

Use this link
 to request a free at-home testing kit. It will be mailed to you via FedEx overnight shipping. Follow the instructions and you’ll be able to mail your sample back to the lab using a prepaid shipping envelope included in your kit. Then you can go online and check for your results, usually within 1–2 days after the sample arrives at the lab!

Request a FREE at-home testing kit!

FAQs

Where can I go for a COVID-19 test?

Wake County Public Health is only one provider in a list of dozens of locations offering COVID-19 testing in Wake County. Local pharmacies, large chain pharmacies, doctors' offices, and other community testing sites are available at NCDHHS.gov/GetTested.

Wake County continues to offer five no-cost drive-thru testing locations throughout the community operating six days a week. No ID and no insurance are required, however, APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED to help us prioritize those experiencing symptoms from COVID-19, exposed to someone who had tested positive of those who are at highest risk.

PLEASE CHECK ABOVE ON THIS PAGE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT OR FIND OTHER TESTING PROVIDERS

Who should be tested?

COVID-19 testing is open to anyone who would like to be tested. We especially encourage you to be tested if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • Have COVID-like symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, loss of smell;
  • Have been in close contact with a known positive case of COVID-19;
  • Are a healthcare worker or first responder;
  • Work in high-risk settings like long-term care facilities, correctional facilities and homeless shelters;
  • Are 65 years old or older;
  • Have underlying health conditions;
  • Are a member of a vulnerable or historically marginalized population;
  • Are a frontline worker in a setting where social distancing is difficult; or
  • Have attended protests, rallies or other mass gatherings.
  • Children under the age of 18 who fall into one of the categories above maybe be tested if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Do I need to sign up for testing?

Right now, our five Wake County Public Health sites are requiring an appointment. You will be asked to show the QR code that comes in your testing appointment email when you get to the site. You don’t need insurance and you don’t have to bring an ID. Appointments are helping us prioritize those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have come in contact with someone who tested posted or those who are highest risk to best serve our mission of serving the public health in the community. 
Other providers in Wake County also required appointments or pre-registration - please be sure to check ahead. 

What should I bring to the testing site?

We’ve made testing easier than ever – you do NOT need an ID or insurance, just an appointment. There is no cost to take the test. You should bring a smart phone so that you can register your kit and enter a phone number or email to be contacted with your results. If you do not have a smartphone, let staff at the site know and they will help to register you and enter your email to receive your results. 

Can I come to testing on foot?

We welcome anyone to walk up to our drive-thru testing locations. You do not need a car to be tested.

How will the testing process work?

Our testing is a completely NO-touch process. You will drive up to the registration staff and they will check you in. Please have your QR code from your testing appointment confirmation email ready - staff can scan it and in seconds you'll be checked in. Then, you'll proceed to get your testing kit from staff and pull into a parking spot to self-administer your test. 

Testing staff will ask you to use your smartphone to scan a code that will take you to a website where you enter information like your name, email and phone number so that you can be contacted with your results. Then you'll open your kit and swap inside of your nostrils. You’ll place the swab in a test tube, place the test tube in a bag. Then you'll turn on your parking lights to signal that you're finished and staff will come to collect your sample. 

There should be virtually no contact between the test taker and the test administrator. There entire process should only take minutes.

How soon will I get the results?

Results are coming back in 12 hours or less.

If you came to the testing site feeling any COVID-19 symptoms – or came into close-contact with someone who has tested positive – you should return home after the test and self-isolate until you receive your results.

What do I do if my test comes back positive?

Per CDC guidelines, if your test comes back positive and you had symptoms, you should stay home and isolate (avoid anyone in your household). 

For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.

Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. 

For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.

Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate that vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%. COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

What do I do if my test come back negative?

If you were tested because you have symptoms, you should stay home until you have no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and you have felt well for at least 24 hours.

If you were tested because of a known contact to someone with COVID-19, you should follow the quarantine guidance (stay home and avoid contact with other members of your household) until 14 days after your last exposure.

If you were tested for another reason and have no symptoms, you can resume your regular activities.

Do I still have to wear a mask?

Because of the new fast-spreading Omicron variant, it’s highly recommended everyone wear a tight-fitting mask with multiple layers, ideally a high-filtration mask for more protection (e.g., surgical mask, KN95 or N95). You can find these type masks in local stores, including hardware and home improvement stores. You can find them at online retailers. NCDHHS suggests searching Project N95, a non-profit organization that connects people to approved masks. The CDC explains what makes a good fit and how to test that yours is sealing well.

The vaccines have been proven to effectively prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. However, it’s still possible that vaccinated people can get infected. This means people who are vaccinated could be spreading the virus, especially if they come in close contact with others 
or stop wearing masks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in areas of high or substantial community spread, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should:

  • Wear a mask when in public indoor spaces and when in large crowds.
  • If you have been around or exposed to someone who has COVID-19, get tested 3-5 days after exposure.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.

 
For up-to-date information from the NC Department of Health and Human Services on mask wearing visit Face Coverings and Masks | NC COVID-19 (ncdhhs.gov).

Whom should I contact if I have questions?

You can call Wake County’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-675-4567 or email [email protected].