Expanded Testing in New Hanover County

Screening & TestingNew Hanover County continues to provide diagnostic testing for anyone experiencing symptoms, those identified as a close contact to a confirmed case regardless of symptoms, and congregate living settings with concerns of a potential outbreak. Residents can call 910-798-6800, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., to speak with a Public Health nurse to be connected with local testing sites, or be pre-screened and scheduled for a COVID-19 test at the county’s open-air, drive-through site. Interpreters are available, and tests are provided at no cost, with no proof of insurance or residency required.

Updated testing guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services encourages those who have participated in mass gatherings to seek out testing. This expands testing options through private providers and organizations like CVS Pharmacy. Testing sites across the community and state can be found at NCDHHS.gov.

These statistics will be updated Monday-Friday with the most complete information available at the time of posting.
Current data reported as of 3 p.m. on August 5, 2020:
NHC COVID-19 Testing Site Samples*
Total
Positive
Negative
Pending

1,957

182

1,774

1

*New Hanover County reports all tests performed at the Public Health COVID-19 Testing Site. Some tests have been performed on individuals that reside in a neighboring county, and therefore are not counted in the total New Hanover County statistics. These figures are subject to reconciliation from final results obtained from private testing labs. This is not a cumulative total of all tests performed in the county, as many tests are conducted by private providers and other testing sites.

Residents who are currently experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms may be eligible for the county’s diagnostic testing, specifically those who: 

  • Are currently experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 
  • Have limited access to a healthcare provider who will order a COVID-19 test, financial barriers to obtain a test, or have no direct healthcare access. 
  • Have been pre-screened by the Coronavirus Call Center and provided with an appointment for testing. Tests will be provided by the county at no cost to residents. 

COVID-19 symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Residents can call the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., to speak with a public health nurse. Callers will be screened and asked questions like their name, phone number, address, types of symptoms, and the date symptoms started.

If a public nurse determines a person meets the criteria for testing, the person will be scheduled for a time to visit the county’s open-air, drive-through testing site behind the Scottish Rite Temple on 17th Street in Wilmington.

 

New Hanover County began offering expanded, community-wide COVID-19 diagnostic testing to residents on April 29 and will continue to offer diagnostic testing in the weeks to come, based on the community’s need. Samples are taken by New Hanover County Public Health and then sent to a private lab for testing.

No. This testing effort is focused on diagnostic testing — which will let residents know if they currently have COVID-19 and allow Public Health to conduct contact tracing.

Antibody testing, which is different from diagnostic testing, has the potential to indicate if an individual has been exposed to COVID-19 and developed antibodies against it.

The county and city have been given a donation of 10,000 antibody test kits, which could help determine if someone potentially had COVID-19 – even though they were either unable to be tested while they were sick or they never had symptoms.

Public Health plans to first offer the antibody tests to those who have a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 to understand if they have developed antibodies to COVID-19, and then additional targeted antibody testing will be deployed over the coming weeks to long-term care facilities and other congregate locations.

Interpreters will be available in the call center and at the testing site, to ensure everyone can access this resource. 

If you are referred for a test by the call center but do not have transportation, you may be eligible to have a COVID-19 test sample taken at a location convenient for you. A call center nurse will coordinate with you and send Public Health nurses to the agreed-upon testing location at a set date and time. 

After being pre-screened and referred by the call center (910-798-6800), a public health nurse will provide details about the testing site, including location directions, drive-through logistics, time of appointment, and more. Those who are tested at New Hanover County’s test site will also be provided with information as they leave the site including CDC guidance, self-care information, and when to expect test results. Public Health nurses will follow up with the results by phone and mail official test results. 

If you test positive for COVID-19, when Public Health calls with your results they will also make sure you have the resources and support needed while staying at home. Staying at home and avoiding contact with other members of the household can help minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 and protect your loved ones and neighbors.

The Public Health team will also perform contact tracing. Contact tracing is a way to reach out to people who have been near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. They will ask you about anyone else you have recently been near or in close contact with. This will allow Public Health to reach people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and share any information and support they may need to stay at home until the risk of giving the virus to others has passed.

The team will not share anyone’s name or personal information. This information is confidential and will remain private. Each of these steps slows the spread of COVID-19.

New Hanover County is providing this free, expanded testing service to residents who are symptomatic and unable to be tested by their provider or do not have access to a health care provider. The county is also offering testing to anyone who is determined to be a close contact of a positive case. 

Testing provides more meaningful data about COVID-19 in our community and helps reduce community transmission and outbreaks by identifying new cases of COVID-19 and promptly conducting contact tracing.  

Contact tracing is done for positive cases so that close contacts of that individual are aware they may have been exposed to the virus and can take precautions to not spread COVID-19.

Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815