New Hanover County expanded testing for COVID-19 starting Monday.
Any resident in the county who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can call 910-798-6800 and a nurse will screen them over the phone. Those who then meet the criteria will be referred to a drive-thru site in downtown Wilmington to get tested for free.
Speaking on a call with reporters, Public Health Coordinator Lisa Brown said many mild cases of COVID-19 are still not known to public health officials because of the lack of testing availability. And she said that has limited the ability for the county to conduct contact tracing.
"And that is why expanded diagnostic testing is so important as a step for New Hanover County," she said. "It will provide data to help us know if we need to change our mitigation efforts."
The county says it can test up to 2,400 residents over the next four weeks. New Hanover County has at least 79 identified cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon.