'You put a strain on people:' Wake Health's COVID testing appointment requirement goes into effect

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ease of just rolling up whenever you want to a Wake County COVID-19 testing site is off the table. The county is now requiring appointments.

Some residents worried the change could deter people from being tested.

"You know already when you take away convenience, right, you put a strain on people," said Tonya Colter. "If you wait, you may not go later. It may not be as important."

Connor Strickland fears the requirement could hurt his income.

"I accept jobs as they come in and most of them now, (you) have to have negative tests--vaccinated or not--so it is kind of a hassle," said Strickland.

He does freelance marketing work and has received five tests in the last month.

Stickland said he sometimes get a call 24 hours ahead of time for a job and there's usually just enough time to swing by one of Wake County's testing sites.

"If I don't have a negative test or I can't get one in time to send it, then I don't get the job," said Strickland.

Wake County officials said the switch is being make to prioritize cases and those at high risk. Staff is trying help folks who are experiencing COVID symptoms or had exposure.

The change comes as the Omicron variant is just being detected in the United States.

Given the new variant and the upcoming holiday season, a spokesperson for the county said they are monitoring cases, have flexibility, and "we continually adapted to COVID-19 trends and needs in the community."

Numerous other testing vendors and no-cost testing events are available in the community.

People can also order a no-cost, at-home test overnighted to their homes.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.