As COVID cases increase, demand for testing also going up in Triangle

Thursday, July 29, 2021
As COVID cases increase, demand for testing also going up in Triangle
There has been about a 45% increase in the number of COVID-19 tests in comparison to a month ago now that cases are spiking once again.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- There has been about a 45 percent increase in the number of people getting tested for COVID-19 from about a month ago, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

On Wednesday, the most current data show more than 29,000 people got tested. Compare that to a month ago in June, when just over 20,000 people got tested.

People lined up in their cars at the Vision Church RDU parking lot for free testing site in Wake County Thursday morning.

"We see that we are seeing more cases," Wake County Associate Medical Director & Epidemiology Program Director Dr. Nicole Mushonga said. "The number of cases that we have within the county has increased as well and also the concern with the Delta variant. That has impacted our community and so we are seeing more people testing within our sites."

Dr. Mushonga said they've seen the number of people getting tested increase about 42 percent over the last two weeks.

"It's concerning as we know that the Delta variant is more transmissible throughout the community," Dr. Mushonga said. "And as we see these cases increase, it's concerning but one of the things that I think we as public health love to share is that there's still an opportunity to get vaccinated."

A WakeMed Health & Hospitals spokesperson said there has been a rise in testing across primary care and urgent care practices but that thankfully, the vast majority of tests there are coming back negative.

"In July alone, we have actually seen an increase in our patients that have come in requesting testing for COVID, and that includes our vaccine and our unvaccinated patients," said Dr. Ashley Fields, of Avance Primary Care, which has several locations in the Triangle.

She said 941 patients requested COVID-19 testing in July, with 5 percent turning out positive. She said they're concerned that half of their positive COVID-19 cases in July are from the last week.

"We're trending in an area or toward a path that we really don't want to be at this point," Dr. Fields said.

"I think a lot of us, unfortunately, have forgotten that we're still in a pandemic. We have never gotten out of the pandemic and we still have to be cautious."

Cumberland County is reporting a 50 percent boost in testing in the last month.