Mecklenburg County hands out free at-home COVID-19 testing kits

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County Public Health distributed thousands of free at-home testing kits on Saturday afternoon.

In a news release, the county said the kits are for residents who have COVID-19 symptoms and can’t access a testing site or buy their own at-home test kits.

Channel 9 reporter Erika Jackson found out the county received more than 24,000 tests. Some are being reserved for first responders, the Mecklenburg County jail and Mecklenburg EMS. Most of those were handed out to the community for free.

“Its incredibly important for our community to have access to testing resources, so they know if they have COVID; so they can inform their decisions about their health care, as well as isolating; as well as being able to avoid exposing other people to the virus,” Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington said.

The tests distributed were from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at two locations:

  • Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology: 1430 Alleghany Street, Charlotte
  • Bojangles Coliseum: 2700 East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte

The county discouraged people from arriving early. The distribution site blocked its entrances prior to its opening, the health department said.

“To ensure community safety, individuals will not be permitted to wait in line blocking roadways. Individuals will be redirected away from the site until space allows for additional site visitors,” the news release said.

The health department handed out two test kits -- a total of four tests -- per household. The kits were available while supplies last.

No appointments were needed and the kits were offered on a walk-up or drive-up basis.

The county said since at-home test kits don’t require clinical supervision, a prescription is not required.

The county previously handed the tests out at libraries until the first week of 2022, when they ran out. Leaders said they hope to start doing so again if all goes well Saturday.

“We want to be careful with our library partners and our libraries given the level of demand,” said the county’s health director Dr. Raynard Washington. “We want to make sure we can do mass events so we can get a good volume out. That’s what we are going to do right now.”

Due to high demand, the supply of free at-home COVID-19 test kits in Mecklenburg County continues to be limited for future distribution. Click on the county’s “When You Should Be Tested” page for up-to-date information about distribution locations and availability.

With COVID-19 cases at an all-time high in Mecklenburg County, the health department is still working with community partners to provide as much access to testing as possible. Find a free testing site near you by clicking here or by using the county’s COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Sites map.

If you are having difficulty visiting a local testing site, you can also buy at-home COVID-19 test kits online or at local pharmacies. Availability for kits in stores and online has recently improved, county leaders said.

Please click here or call the COVID-19 information hotline at 980-314-9400 (option 3) for up-to-date program information, including locations and hours of operation.

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