Beginning Thursday, March 17, Wake County Public Health will reduce the number of daily appointments for COVID-19 testing and vaccination. The decision comes as Wake County has experienced a steady decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since mid-January.
By balancing capacity with demand, the county can better use its resources while still meeting the current needs of residents and providing same-day appointments, which the community has come to rely on.
Currently, Wake County Public Health offers 8,000 testing appointments daily and averages about 1,100 tests per day across its five drive-thru testing sites. Vaccine clinics offer more than 2,000 appointments and are averaging about 60 doses administered per day. The new schedule will offer 1,900 testing appointments and 1,015 vaccine appointments per day across all sites. Both no-cost services are available 6 days a week with evening hours. Those days, hours and locations will remain the same for the time being.
“This is a great sign of the progress we’re making in bringing case numbers down and reducing community spread of the virus,” said Chair Sig Hutchinson of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “Thanks to more doctors’ offices and pharmacies offering these services, new treatments for post-infection, as well as the increased availability of free at-home testing kits, the community now has more options than ever to protect themselves and their families.”
As of March 15, 81% of Wake County residents five and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, one of the highest county percentages in North Carolina.
“COVID-19 is not going to disappear, but it’s trending downward because of vaccines and boosters that protect against severe infection and access to testing with quick turn-around times,” said Wake County Associate Physician Director and Epidemiology Program Director Dr. Nicole Mushonga. “We will continue monitoring COVID community transmission and metrics as our team continues to finalize the next steps related to scaling back efforts. Further scaling back efforts, including the reduction of hours or days, will consider the appropriate timing and potential impact on the community. ”
Wake County will continue to focus on health equity and outreach to underserved communities, which have been hit hardest by the virus. Pop-up vaccine clinics are currently offered in multiple locations throughout the week in convenient locations such as grocery stores, churches and community centers.
This change will not impact anyone who has already made a testing or vaccine appointment. Appointments for both testing and vaccines will still be required and can be made same day at wakegov.com/covid.