In January of 2022, COVID-19 cases in North Carolina reached a record high.

 Recently, those numbers have been dropping nicely. However, there are still a lot of people who want to – or who are required to – test frequently for the disease. A lot of people eagerly went to a federal COVID-19 website last month and filled out their request for four free at-home tests from the federal government – but those tests still haven’t arrived in many cases.

While it’s not clear when those test kits will arrive, it is clear that the State of North Carolina is working to help fill in the gap by offering more testing sites, free at-home tests and other testing options.

According to information state health officials sent out on Wednesday, Feb. 2, North Carolina laboratories reported that there were 2,627,371 tests performed across the state last month. That included 11 days with more than 100,000 tests being performed – with a one-day high of 135,031.  That peak was reached on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 response team has, since Thursday, Dec. 23, shipped 441,038 rapid antigen test kits to various agencies and groups across North Carolina.

One reason you may not be seeing the tests from the state is that state sources are offering the tests based on certain priorities, and it may be that you don’t fall into one of those groups.

For the state, testing kit delivery was prioritized for some, including:

  • 62,780 tests went to K-12 schools for use in the StrongSchoolsNC Testing Program,
  • 98,150 tests went to local health departments.
  • 174,854 tests were given to long-term care and assisted living facilities and other “high priority” settings such as “migrant farmworker camps, tribal health clinics and free and charitable clinics.”

Medical companies as well as state, local and federal government agencies say now that they are making test availability a key point of emphasis.  While not long ago test kits were nearly impossible not find, more and more are being seen on pharmacy shelves these days.