With COVID-19 cases reaching record highs last month, North Carolina laboratories reported 2,627,371 tests performed across the state during the month of January. This included 11 days with more than 100,000 tests and a one-day high of 135,031 on Jan. 12. To help meet the unprecedented demand for testing and promote greater equity in test availability, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 response team shipped 441,038 rapid antigen test kits across North Carolina since Dec. 23, 2021. Testing kit delivery was prioritized for local and community settings, including:
- 62,780 tests to K-12 schools for use in the StrongSchoolsNC Testing Program
- 98,150 tests to local health departments
- 174,854 tests to long-term care and assisted living facilities and other high priority settings, including migrant farmworker camps, tribal health clinics and free and charitable clinics
A closer look at the Omicron testing response (Dec. 23–Jan. 31) by the numbers:
- 441,038 rapid antigen tests shipped to local partners for professional and at-home use
- 59,870 at-home COVID-19 collection kits were distributed to North Carolina households for mail-in testing
- More than 369,000 nasal swabs and other pieces of testing supplies were shipped to local partners
- Number of manufacturers providing professional and at-home tests was increased from two to seven
- Twenty-three local health department and health system requests for vaccine and testing event support were fulfilled
- More than 2 million tests have been ordered to help ensure NCDHHS testing supply (approximately 421,000 were received in January with another 1.6 million tests expected to arrive in February)
To date, NCDHHS has also distributed more than seven million N95 masks to local partners in every county to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. Healthier Together partner organizations provided critical support on the ground in requesting and distributing 568,000 of the N95s to further reduce barriers in historically marginalized communities. A flyer providing tips for wearing an N95 mask is available for download in English and Spanish.
"This has been an all-hands-on-deck effort to meet the demands of the Omicron surge," said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. "It has taken an enormous team effort — from our procurement teams turning every stone to secure tests, to our warehouse teams working around the clock to ship supplies to community partners, to local health departments and community organizations on the ground ensuring the resources get where they are most needed. Everyone in North Carolina plays a part — get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask and help stop the spread of COVID-19."
A list of hundreds of no-cost community testing events, free at-home tests and mail-in collection kits are available online at ncdhhs.gov/GetTested.