JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Long COVID-19 testing lines have been the case in many parts of North Carolina and the country after the holidays. Onslow County is no exception.
StarMed Healthcare of Charlotte says overall their testing numbers have increased 400%, and their location in Jacksonville is feeling that surge. Officials say their testing numbers have doubled in the city. They went from seeing about 50 patients a day to seeing about 150.
“What we have heard from, what we’ve seen of case reports coming in is that there is quite a long one for testing. And there, there are many people who are trying to get tested after finding out that they were exposed through the holidays,” said Onslow County Health Department Director Kristen Richmond-Hoover.
StarMed Healthcare officials say they’ve been able to handle it though, especially after moving to a new location that’s indoors with double the space they had before. They say even though there are long lines, people aren’t waiting in them for very long. The wait time Thursday morning was about 20 minutes.
“We’re actually extending our testing hours as well, just to increase the capacity and let people have easy access to free testing,” said Chief Medical Officer at StarMed Healthcare of Charlotte, Dr. Arin Piramzadian.
StarMed also offers rapid tests, PCR tests and antibody tests depending on what you need, at no cost.
“We definitely do want you to get tested. If you have symptoms. That means something’s going on,” said Piramzadian.
Richmond-Hoover said the health department has been the busiest this week for positive tests, receiving about 175 new case reports.
Health officials say the CDC recommends you get tested five days after exposure, so this surge is to be expected this week since there was so much traveling last week.
“It is important for individuals to be tested, but to also be mindful that the demand is really increased right now. And, you know, in addition to being tested, there are other things that they can do to protect themselves and others,” said Richmond-Hoover.