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Increase in demand for COVID-19 testing expected following holiday weekend

North Carolina has completed over 1 million coronavirus tests as of July 6, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — While many people took time off for the Fourth of July holiday, the coronavirus did not. 

Coming off the holiday weekend, doctors said the demand for coronavirus testing is expected to increase. 

"A lot of people still choose or chose to gather in relatively large groups and when you have many people together there may be exposure to the virus," said Dr. Lawrence Nycum, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Novant Health in Greater Winston Salem market. 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said a total number of 1,051,846 tests have been administered as of the July 6 update. The data says nine percent of those tests have been positive. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen wants that number to be closer to five percent to loosen restrictions. 

Dr. Nycum said Novant Health is prepared for any anticipated increase in testing following the July 4 weekend. 

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"Novant Health has the testing resources in place to manage the demand and the likely increase in the cases across the triad," said Dr. Nycum.

Nycum said since March, Novant Health has tested over 25,000 in Forsyth County, and 121,000 patients across the Novant Health system, which includes North Carolina and Virginia. 

During a coronavirus update last week, the state said the capacity for testing and contact tracing is increasing which is one of the key factors to stopping the spread. 

Dr. Nycum said although the ability to test in high numbers is still available, it's important to take any charge possible to stop the spread.

"I recognize the frustration in isolation people feel and we know how eager everyone is to put COVID-19 behind us. However, unfortunately, we’re not there yet," he said. 

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"I think people should wear a mask in public. It’s incumbent upon all of us to be good citizens around that issue," he said.

LabCorp is also anticipating an increase in testing on a national level, from 130,000 per day to 150,000 per day by mid-July, according to a statement.

"In recent weeks, we have seen a steady increase in demand for molecular testing and we are doing everything we can to continue delivering results in a timely manner while continually increasing testing capacity," said LabCorp. 

That increase in demand could cause results to take longer than one to two days to come back, said LabCorp. 

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Quest Diagnostics is also seeing an increase in demand for testing and noted potential delays in turnaround times in a statement Monday.

"Since June 29, demand has continued to rise nationwide, particularly in the South, Southwest and West regions of the country, outpacing our capacity. As a result, the average turnaround time for reporting test results is now one day for priority one patients and four to six days for all other populations," Quest Diagnostics said in a statement. 

For more information on Novant Health screening centers, click here.

For more information on testing at Wake Forest Baptist Health, click here.

Trinity AME Zion Church in Greensboro is hosting drive-thru testing on every Monday and Friday in July. 

Cone Health is also hosting several testing events throughout the month of July in the following locations: 

  • July 7, Daystar Church
  • July 8, Mount Zion Greensboro
  • July 13, Soup Kitchen at Mission First 1520 S. Scales St., Reidsville
  • July 15, Mount Zion Greensboro
  • July 17, Baptist Temple Lot 2540 729 Wentworth St., Reidsville
  • July 20, St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1414 Gorrell St, Greensboro 
  • July 22, Mount Zion Greensboro
  • July 29, Mount Zion Greensboro

For more information on these events, visit Cone Health's Facebook page.

Quest Diagnostics is also running testing events starting Tuesday, July 7, in the Triad. 

Quest Diagnostics will have several drive-thru testing sites in N.C. with Walmart; three of which are in Greensboro and one in High Point at the following locations:

  • 1050 Alamance Church Road, Greensboro
  • 3605 High Point Road, Greensboro
  • 5611 W. Friendly Avenue, Greensboro
  • 4102 Precision Way, High Point

Hours for the above testing sites are Tuesday and Thursday 7:45 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

A spokesperson for Quest Diagnostics said you must have a scheduled appointment to be tested and be present in a vehicle. No walk-ups will be seen. 

Quest Diagnostics said patients will first need to visit their doctor to get a test order. Then, patients will be able to use Quest’s online appointment scheduler to find the Walmart testing site closest to them and make an appointment to visit, according to a spokesperson.

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