CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Drive-through testing is returning to Wake County, and now you can test for more than just COVID-19.
It can be difficult to tell between the symptoms of flu and COVID-19, according to WakeMed infection prevention specialist Jessica Dixon.
"Achiness, fevers, headaches, sore throats, coughs, respiratory crud, as I call it, stuffy nose, runny nose, et cetera," Dixon said. "COVID, you tend to have more nasal congestion, but not so much a runny nose necessarily. I feel like a lot of people with COVID have the sore throat and the headache."
County health officials said they're concerned about an increase in respiratory illnesses after holiday gatherings, which officials already saw after Thanksgiving. To help respond, Wake County Health Department teamed up with Mako Medical to organize drive-through testing availability.
"I just woke up this morning with some symptoms, and I'm here just because of the free testing," Melanie Cobos said. "I work in healthcare, so I just want to make sure that I'm clear to be able to return home."
Testing happened Thursday and will take place again Jan. 3 and Jan. 5 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church on High Meadow Drive in Cary. Registration is recommended but not required.
The drive-through test will include one nasal swab. That swab will then be used to test for both COVID-19 and the flu. Results will be delivered back to you within two days.
The testing is free.
Symptoms that warrant a visit to the hospital include significant shortness of breath and persistent high fevers, according to Dixon.
"If you have chest pain, if you have difficulty breathing, if you suddenly can't move a part of your body or can't speak, or someone around you is like that, then that's the time to seek emergency care," Dixon said.
For Lynda Lee, the swab on Thursday was worth protecting her loved ones.
"I have a family member right now who is in quarantine, and I actually have a doctor's appointment this afternoon," Lee said. "I'm not sure if it's a sinus infection or what's going on. The ones (tests) I've done at home have been negative but I like to have the professionals do a double check."
Lee echoed several others who came to get tested, hoping to avoid COVID-19, the flu, or both.
"I got a great-niece that's a sophomore at Duke, and I want to make sure I'm there when she graduates," Michael Trainor said.
"I have young babies at home so I'm trying to do that for them and also for everyone," Ilies Idrissi said.
Thursday's turnout was triple the number of people that came out Tuesday when they launched in Cary, according to Mako Medical.
"They've gone up," Cameron Broadwell said. "We expected it to possibly double, possibly triple. We do believe those numbers should increase."
Broadwell said he expects more locations in Wake County next week.
"It's a serious measure," Broadwell said. "The flu is getting a lot of people sick, as well as Covid, and it's a good thing that we can test both with one test."
Other testing options are available in Wake County. Click here for more details on those other options.