N.C. residents won't need a doctor's order for a COVID test

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina announced Tuesday that residents will no longer need a doctor’s referral to get a coronavirus test.

The order, lasting until Gov. Roy Cooper’s current state of emergency is rescinded, aims to encourage more Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to get tested.

Mandy Cohen, state secretary of Health and Human Services, also announced the creation of up to 300 free temporary testing sites throughout July.

The expansion comes even as Cohen said the state needs more testing supplies from the federal government. Cohen said she and Cooper discussed the need for more chemical reagents Monday with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

While test results previously took 2 to 3 days to get back results in June, Cohen said supply issues have increased current waits to a week in some cases.

“That request (for more supplies) is going to be harder and harder for the federal government to fulfill as we watch all of these states that are really surging with cases around us, they are understandably going to be prioritized for supplies,” Cohen said.

North Carolina reported a high of nearly 1,000 coronavirus hospitalizations Tuesday, along with a two-week low in daily completed tests with less than 13,000 performed.

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Anderson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.