WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) – The Wake County Public Health Department announced that the county will begin to scale back its five drive-thru testing sites.

On Monday, the department will begin reducing the number of appointments available and the days testing is offered.

The last day for testing at drive-thru locations at county sites will be Friday, July 29.

Wake County said there has been a steady decline in the number of people using these sites.

“COVID-19 testing is not going away. With the abundance of home testing kits and other testing locations throughout the community, people will have plenty of opportunities to stay safe and healthy,” said said the chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Sig Hutchinson said.

Officials said outdoor COVID-19 testing was extremely expensive and keeping staff at sites eight hours a day, six days a week was a challenge.

Wake County has spent $131 million since testing began and to continue drive-through testing in June will use its own funds at a cost of $2 million per month to local ratepayers.

Patricia Reichmeider was leaving a Wake County testing site on Friday and was upset to learn that the venue was closing soon.

“We have a son who is immunocompromised, so we came here a bit to protect him, so definitely prefer PCR over the rapid home test,” said Recihmeider, who was there to get tested ahead of a trip to Mexico. .

Another Raleigh resident said the locations have helped her feel comfortable throughout the pandemic.

“I work with people who haven’t had a shot. And I encourage them to go get tested, get vaccinated,” said Theresa Redmond.

The changes announced on Friday will not affect anyone who has already made an appointment for a test.

Testing appointments will still be required and can be made here.

Some medical professionals are warning that we are likely to see a new wave of COVID-19 cases this summer.

An infection prevention specialist WakeMed has seen many patients with mild symptoms of COVID. She’s surprised that Wake County is cutting back on business as summer travel increases.

“I think it’s definitely something that we’re going to miss and I hate to see it go, especially right now because I think it will discourage some people from going out and looking for these PCR tests, which will be more accurate at picking up those who are positive for COVID,” said Jessica Dixon of WakeMed.

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