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Feds suspend shipping of free home COVID-19 tests nationwide due to funding, here’s how to still get them in North Carolina

The federal government is suspending shipment of free COVID-19 home tests on Friday, with a message on the ordering site noting that “Congress has not provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s test stockpile.”

“The federal government has to respond. It’s really nationwide. This is just one example of the dysfunction we have in Congress at the federal level,” said Thomas Denny, professor and chief operating officer at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.

The announcement comes just before the Labor Day holiday and as schools largely resume full in-person classes.

“Testing has been a challenge for us throughout this pandemic. And now a lot of people are coming together again – schools, people coming off vacation, being close to each other, traveling, I would be “surprised if we didn’t see a slight increase in some infections. That doesn’t mean we’re back to where we were in 2020. But again, the lack of vaccination coverage in some people makes testing an important rule,” Denny explained.

North Carolina’s COVID-19 measures have improved, with NCDHHS reporting declines in new cases, hospital admissions, emergency room visits and virus particles found in sewage in the past week. However, less than half of children in North Carolina have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We continue to have testing locations and events where people can go to get tested. We also have a program where people can request a kit to be mailed to them. It’s a PCR test that is then sent to a lab, so we have a number of ways people can still access testing despite the change in the federal program,” said Dr. Susan Kansagra, director of the Carolina Division of Public Health. North at NCDHHS.

Dr. Kansagra noted that they have over 200 community access sites and support provider sites, mostly in underserved areas.

“For people who have insurance, you can show your insurance card at your pharmacy and also take eight home tests each month,” Kansagra explained.

NCDHHS has also partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation, which provides free at-home COVID-19 testing to people in 80 counties across the state.

According to the FDA, “COVID-19 home antigen tests should generally detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus at least 80% of the time when a person is infected.”

Families can order up to three times free home testing from the federal government.

Here’s how to get free COVID-19 test kits at County Durham Public Health

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