As Wake County opens new COVID-19 testing sites, some explain why delays persist for nearly 2 years in

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – New COVID-19 test sites will arrive in the Triangle in the coming days, as North Carolina and Wake County leaders seek to meet the overwhelming demand as cases increase and that families and friends get together during the holidays.

Details on new sites

Starting Friday, a drive-thru test site will open at PNC Arena in Raleigh. Managed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Wake County health officials said the site would be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice. No appointment is required but pre-registration is required. Results are expected within 12 to 48 hours.

Starting Monday, NCDHHS will also partner with Mako Medical on a new site in Zebulon at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats. The site is scheduled to operate between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice. Pre-registration is required and results are expected within 24 to 48 hours.

There is also a new test site now open on weekdays at Word of God Assembly Church on Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh, which is expected to be open weekdays through Tuesday, Jan.4 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Results are expected in 12 to 28 hours, with Wake County health officials saying wait times “are being reported as minimal. Registration is compulsory.

Unprecedented demand in the Triangle

Wake County health officials describe “huge demand” on testing sites, with multiple single-day recordings in recent days at the county’s five major testing sites – more than 13,000.

Statewide, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday it averages more than 50,000 tests a day – less than its record 86,259 tests on Christmas Eve, the last week, and over 85,000 on the Friday before Labor Day weekend 2021..

Some wonder why the long lines persist

Amid the recent wave, businesses – like citizens – have had to make decisions on how to move forward as positive cases and exposures have increased.

Last week, after an employee at Neuse River Brewing in Raleigh tested positive, President Ryan Kolarov made the decision to temporarily shut down his business in order to have his staff tested.

But it turned out to be more difficult than expected, as workers faced long queues – which not all of its workers had time to wait for.

“We had someone standing in line for over two hours,” Kolarov said. “It’s hard to ask everyone to do it so frequently. “

Those delays meant it took longer to rule out cases among staff – and therefore, longer before they could reopen the brewery, which happened on Wednesday evening.

Kolarov wonders why, as the state approaches two years after the start of the pandemic, the delays persist.

“I am very surprised that it is taking so long and that it is difficult for us to do what we have really been doing all this time,” he said of the testing processes.

According to Wake County officials, public health staff have been working “to reorganize staff, add signage and streamline processes” in hopes of reducing traffic and delays at popular sites.

NCDHHS said it was monitoring the situation at testing sites and working with vendors “to ensure testing resources” are “widely available.”

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