WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A drive-through COVID-19 testing event hosted by New Hanover County Department of Health and Human Services closed more than 90 minutes early Thursday when it ran out of tests.
Cars lined both 16th Street and 17th Street as people waited to get a free COVID-19 test.
“Waited for a little over two hours,” said Roberta Klehr.
Others waited anywhere from an hour to three hours, depending on which road they entered the line on.
“I feel well, but I traveled by plane to Kansas on the 21st and came back on the 28th,” said Klehr. “And I think I should be tested so I don’t give it to someone else.”
Others in line said they were getting tested because they were in close contact with another person who tested positive, or because they had most of the common symptoms.
“I know they’re doing the best they can, and I’m glad that they’re having this to give those of us the opportunity to see because we don’t wanna keep spreading this thing,” said Lydia Davis.
Health officials said they were glad that even people who thought they just had allergies or a cold were checking to make sure that it’s not COVID.
“I think a lot of people who are symptomatic are assuming that they are positive. It’s a good indicator for them to know whether or not they have COVID or the flu, or a cold, or something else, which is important because people need to know what they have and their provider needs to know so they can treat them properly,” New Hanover County Health Director David Howard said. “Around a quick count estimate, around 20% positive, possibly a little bit higher.”
For some perspective on just how busy the drive thru event was, the health department had just over 600 tests available when testing started at 9 o’clock Thursday morning but ran out of tests nearly two hours early.
Howard added that a lot of people in the community want to get tested and work towards the end of this pandemic. “This is one way to do it, testing is a very good way to understand what’s going on in the community and in households so that we can interrupt transmission,” Howard said.
Just one of the reasons why Klehr and Davis decided to get tested today.
“I’m 83 years old and all of my friends are older. I just don’t wanna give it to anybody,” Klehr said.
“I just want everybody to think of their neighbor and be cognizant that it’s not just about me and mine, it’s about everybody,” Davis said.
Officials said even though they ran out of tests today, more are on the way.
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