Expanded Testing in New Hanover County

Screening & TestingNew Hanover County Public Health has expanded COVID-19 testing in the county to serve our residents.  

Residents who are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can call the Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800 to be screened by a Public Health nurse. Interpreters will be available. Those who meet the criteria will then be referred to the county’s drive-through diagnostic testing site at a designated day and time.  

Diagnostic tests will be provided by the county at no cost to residents. 

Current data reported as of 4 p.m. on May 22, 2020:
NHC COVID-19 Testing Site Samples*
Total
Positive
Negative
Pending

692

34

595

63

*New Hanover County reports all tests performed at the 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.

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 in downtown Wilmington, located next to the Schwartz Center. The diagnostic test site will open to those with appointments through May 22.

 

New Hanover County will provide testing to symptomatic individuals over the next four weeks, from April 29 through May 22. Samples will be taken by New Hanover County Public Health and then sent to a private lab for testing. The county plans to test up to 2,400 residents for COVID-19.   

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, before expanding to the community at large.

Stay tuned for more details!

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. 

This is the most extensive and aggressive testing effort by any county in North Carolina, and New Hanover County is providing this service to residents who are symptomatic and unable to be tested by their provider or do not have access to a health care provider.  

In addition, it will provide more meaningful data about COVID-19 in our community and help reduce the likelihood of increased 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