Christmas is normally a time for spreading good cheer.

However, this year, in sad, sad 2020, the state of North Carolina is instead spreading COVID-19 tests throughout the state. NC health officials announced on Tuesday, Dec. 15 that the state is offering impressive 300-plus, no-cost, walk-up or drive through COVID-19 testing events over the next two weeks.

The move is being made, of course, to help state residents protect themselves and their loved ones over the holidays. North Carolina’s Christmastime testing extravaganza includes testing in partnership with new retailers that will provide sites for the testing.

The new tests are a welcome addition and one that’s badly needed since Cone Health and some other testers around the state announced this week that they would require appointments for tests in order to avoid what had become very long wait times for those who just showed up unannounced.

A list of all testing event times and locations throughout the state in the remainder of December is available at the No-Cost Community Testing Events page on the website for the NC Department of Health and Human Services. More locations are being added every day, and test sites in a specific area can be found at Find My Testing Place at That tool will display a number of test options in Guilford County in the coming weeks, including those at places like Mount Zion Church, Prestige Barber College and the Guilford County Health and Human Services Department building in Greensboro.

The state is using a wider variety of locations and, in some cases, the test sites are the parking lots of various stores such as Agri Supply, Carlie C’s IGA, Home Depot, Piggly Wiggly and Wegman’s.

The good news is that absolutely anyone can get tested for COVID-19 at these state events. People without insurance are eligible, and no identification documents are required. Children and adults may be tested. However, a parent or legal guardian has to be present with children and teens 17 or younger.

The state is also reminding people this week that those who have COVID-19 symptoms – or who’ve been around a person with COVID-19 – shouldn’t shop in person until their isolation or quarantine period has ended.

In a similar vein, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is “strongly” urging caution whenever people travel or gather for holiday celebrations. In fact, under North Carolina’s modified Stay at Home order now in effect, indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.