No-Cost COVID-19 Testing

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

Hours and Closures for Memorial Day Weekend

In observance of Memorial Day, Wake County Public Health COVID-19 testing will be open Saturday, May 28 from 9 a.m. - noon, and CLOSED Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30. Several state-run testing sites will be open on Memorial Day, See Additional No-Cost Testing Site Locations below. 

All sites will resume normal schedules on Tuesday, May 31.

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 is needed at our five Public Health sites. These five sites provide results in less than 12 hours. All sites use self-administered PCR tests, which are painless and require people to swab just inside their nose. Please NOTE: NCDHHS and other community providers may ask for insurance and bill your provider, but there is no out-of-pocket cost. Test result times may vary for the state testing vendor. 

Appointments are REQUIRED

Appointments can be made seven days out. Click below or call 1-888-675-4567 (M-F, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Weekends/holidays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 

Some tips for avoiding long lines and speeding up your testing process:

  • Please do NOT come to a Wake County Public Health testing site without an appointment
  • Please do NOT come hours early for your appointment. If everyone comes during their allotted time, things move smoothly. 
  • 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 Road. 

As we head into the summer months, pop up thunderstorms inevitably interfere with our outdoor COVID-19 testing sites operations. These storms often appear quickly and normally move through our area fast.

If you arrive at one of our sites during normal operating hours during a storm and staff are not standing outside to greet you, we may have paused operating until it passes. 

You are welcome to wait until we resume operating, or you can come back at a later time to the same location, and we’ll honor your appointment.

Be sure to check your email for communications from us and our social media channels for updates!

Testing Site Locations

Wake County Public Health Testing Sites

All Wake County Public Health testing sites are open Monday through Saturday.
APPOINTMENTS REQUIRED

Additional No-Cost Testing Locations

Other sites:

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). No appointment needed, walk-ins welcome. For more information, call  800-701-1023 or pre-register here.

No-Cost At-Home COVID-19 Tests

FEDERAL PROGRAM: Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 2 sets of 4 free at-⁠home tests. If you already ordered your first set, order a second today. There is no cost for the tests and no shipping fees. The button below will take you to the site to order these rapid antigen tests.

STATE PROGRAM: The NC Department of Health and Human Services and LabCorp also have a program to request free at-home testing kits. These are PCR tests that must be mailed back to a lab in a postage-paid envelope. USE THIS NCDHHS LINK to make a request.

Order two sets of FREE at-home rapid antigen testing kits

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. These sites may require appointments and may ask for insurance.

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, but they can be made same day. 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 at the five Wake County Public Health sites, 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 smart phone, let staff at the site know and they will help to register you and enter your email to receive your results. 

Can I walk up to a testing site?

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 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 smart phone 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?

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of the virus, you should continue to wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners decided to rescind the mask mandate, effective Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 at 5 p.m.

Wake County still encourages the public to wear a mask in high-risk settings and large crowds or if they are feeling sick. There are still some places, such as health care, long-term care and transportation like airplanes, where a mask will be required because of the setting or federal regulations.

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 covid19.questions@wakegov.com.