WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's the end of an era here in Wake County. COVID drive-thru testing ended Friday.
The closure of the sites come as cases are rising in NC for a 5th consecutive week.
Nearly 34,000 new cases were reported last week compared to 29,000 the week before.
Wake County Public Health has administered more than 1.5 million COVID-19 tests to the public.
But with more access to home test kits, other community testing sites and effective vaccines they are scaling back fully on their drive thru option today.
Leaders say outdoor COVID-19 testing at this level is extremely expensive, and keeping sites staffed eight hours a day, six days a week is a challenge.
In total, Wake County has spent $131 million since the start of the testing program.
To continue drive-thru testing past June, Wake County is using its own funds at a cost of $2 million a month to local taxpayers.
At the height of testing when lines were wrapped around the block, the demand has certainly gone down.
Wake County health leaders say there will still be testing options available to you and they have learned a great deal from this experience.
"Two and a half years ago, it was a nerve-wracking place. We just really didn't know where the what would happen. We had never seen our community shut down quite like it did. And we are in such a different place now. We have tools that we can use to help keep our lives as normal as possible. So keep our community open and having the social gathering things and work that school, everything we're used to," explained Rebeca Kaufman.
She added there is a lot they have learned in case numbers go up or they are faced with another worldwide pandemic.
"As someone who works in public health or in a different place, in many ways, we are going to use these lessons, as we, you know, respond to future viruses. And it's been a long two and a half years, but really proud of the community for doing what was right. We've had great partnerships, and we're going to utilize those moving forward as well," she said.
Testing is available throughout Wake County at doctors' offices, clinics and pharmacies. Drive-thru testing is still currently available through state-run sites by Mako Medical.