For the last couple of months, the focus of the battle against COVID-19 has been on immunizations.

However, state health officials haven’t forgotten that the ability to easily test for the virus is also part of the strategy.  On Friday, March 26, the state announced a new weapon in that battle. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), in partnership with Labcorp, will provide 35,000 no-cost home tests to North Carolinians who are currently using Food and Nutrition Services – formerly called the Food Stamp Program – or who are disabled and are “experiencing barriers to getting tested.”

Now, eligible North Carolina residents can request a Labcorp COVID-19 home testing kit that will be shipped to them overnight as part of this pilot program. The kit includes a nasal swab, a sample container and instructions.  The recipient will also get a prepaid return envelope for the samples.

 In most cases, the test user will receive the results within one or two days from the time the specimen is received at the lab.

North Carolinians in the following groups are eligible:

  • Beneficiaries of the state’s Food and Nutrition Services who otherwise would have difficulty accessing existing state-funded testing sites and resources.
  • Those with disabilities such as “cognitive/intellectual, physical and sensory, substance abuse, mental health and other disabilities that impact their ability to access COVID-19 testing sites.”

Anyone seeking a free home test can visit to learn more and request a kit.

Dr. Brian Caveney, the chief medical officer and president of Labcorp Diagnostics, stated in a press release announcing the pilot program that this is meant to “help protect some of our most vulnerable citizens and promote health and safety in our communities.”

The “Pixel by Labcorp COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kit” detects the presence or absence of the virus that causes COVID-19. In the medical field, it’s known as “a reverse polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.”