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As Covid cases rise, Health Department urges residents to be prepared

As Covid-19 trends increase again it’s important to be prepared by knowing available testing options and staying up to date with vaccinations.

Henderson County has seen an uptick in Covid-19 cases. Currently, there are about 30 positive cases per 100,000 residents in Henderson County compared to 10 per 100,000 people a month ago. Hospitalizations too have ticked up in North Carolina. 

Henderson County and much of North Carolina are still considered low risk in the CDC’s Community Risk Levels Map. But other parts of the country, such as the Northeastern United States, are listed as high-impact areas.

Waves of Covid-19 will continue and while metrics are currently increasing, the rates are not as steep as they have been in the past. Like preparing for inclement weather, it’s important to be prepared for when these waves come, by, notably, having Covid-19 at-home tests on hand or knowing where to get tested when needed.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services offers some options to seek testing:

Order free at-home tests through the U.S. Postal Service

The federal government recently made a third round of at-home tests available by mail Every U.S. household is eligible for up to three orders of four free at-home tests (eight tests total). No ID, credit card or health insurance is required. Tests typically ship within 7-12 days of order through the Postal Service.

Buy tests online or at a local pharmacy using health insurance

Rapid at-⁠home tests are available to buy at online and local pharmacies. Check beforehand for availability. Most health plans allow for up to eight at-home tests per month per person, according to NCDHHS. The test will either be free at the time of sale or reimbursed through your insurance. If paid upfront, be sure to keep the receipt and submit a claim.

North Carolina Medicaid program guidelines allow individuals to get free at-home COVID rapid tests at no cost, according to NCDHHS. Beneficiaries can select at-home tests at their preferred pharmacy and show their NC Medicaid ID card for no out-of-pocket cost. The pharmacist will bill Medicaid on the patient’s behalf.

Currently, original Medicare does not pay for at-home tests for individuals’ purchases. However, Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage and payment for at-home Covid-19 tests. NCDHHS recommends consumers covered by Medicare Advantage to check their plan.

Request a home PCR collection kit from Labcorp OnDemand

NCDHHS has partnered with NC-based Labcorp to provide no-cost, at-home Covid-19 collection kits. Unlike a rapid test, collected samples must be mailed back to a lab for results. Results are typically available 1-2 days after the sample arrives at the lab. Request a kit

Go to a testing site

Local pharmacies, urgent cares and other sites are still offering testing at their locations. Some locations may charge a fee. To find locations, visit

Stay up to date with vaccinations

Vaccines remain the best tool against severe illness, death as well as long-term impacts of Covid-19. Everyone should stay up to date with their Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters, including children as Covid-19 boosters are now available for ages 5-11. Find a vaccine location at

Remember to stay up to date on vaccinations, test and stay home when feeling sick and seek treatment options when needed.