Buncombe is handing out more free COVID tests and masks. Here's where.

·3 min read
Masks and test are being handed out at fire departments across Buncombe County on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. until supplies run out. This picture, taken by deputy chief Larry Pierson at Swannanoa Fire Department shows the kind of supplies being handed out. The move is an effort of Buncombe County government and community partners including most local fire departments.
Masks and test are being handed out at fire departments across Buncombe County on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. until supplies run out. This picture, taken by deputy chief Larry Pierson at Swannanoa Fire Department shows the kind of supplies being handed out. The move is an effort of Buncombe County government and community partners including most local fire departments.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services is working with community organizations and public service providers to hand out free COVID-19 test kits and masks.

The handout is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 26 or until supplies run out.

This is the second round of test and mask distribution organized by Buncombe County Health and Human Services. The first on Jan. 20 saw supplies used up quickly.

More: Buncombe leading big COVID test, mask push. Here's where to get yours.

Some tests will be handed out by 22 equity-focused community organizations to groups including historically marginalized populations, low-income areas and rural communities.

The rest will be handed out at the following locations across Buncombe:

  • Buncombe County Health and Human Services at 40 Coxe Ave.

  • Fairview Fire Department

  • Jupiter Fire Department

  • Reynolds Fire Department

  • Shiloh Recreation Center - Distributed by Asheville Fire Department

  • Stephens Lee Community Center- Distributed by Asheville Fire Department

  • West Buncombe Fire Department

  • Broad River Fire Department

  • Black Mountain Fire Department

  • Swannanoa Fire Department

  • Enka-Candler Fire Department: Individuals must schedule a pickup time for the test kits and masks here by calling 828- 667-0798

  • Upper Hominy Fire Department

  • Garren Creek Volunteer Fire Department

Supplies are limited, the county emphasized in a release, and some fire departments posted on social media Jan. 25 that they had only about 200 tests.

BCHHS will update this list on its website based on supplies availability.

Community members may want to call ahead to locations to check if supply is still available, according to the release. Some fire departments posted on social media they would not hold tests for people and that distribution would be a first-come, first-serve operation.

These locations will provide:

  • At least one kit per adult but no more than two kits per adult. Each test kit box contains one at-home test.

  • At least one bag of face coverings per individual. Each face-covering bag contains 10 face coverings.

The kits and face coverings are free. No identification is needed to obtain these items.

More information about whether or not you should get a COVID test and what to do if you test positive for COVID is available at BCHHS' website and its social media page.

This twofold push to hand out masks and tests to Buncombe residents is supplemented by new help from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which is providing testing surge locations in the county that started Jan. 21.

These will begin on the campus of UNC Asheville in the Ridge Room in the Highsmith Student Union, 2500 University Heights.

Weekend testing here will be available for the next six weeks and is open to the public, according to the release.

Another prominent local testing site is the Harrah’s Cherokee Center at 87 Haywood St. in Asheville. Testing there goes from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

A complete list of testing sites in Buncombe and surrounding areas also is available at ncdhhs.gov/GetTested.

Additionally, Buncombe's push to give residents testing and masking options comes as the federal government announced Jan. 18 a move to provide four tests to every household through the U.S. Postal Service.

Those can be ordered at covidtests.gov.

More: COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Asheville, Buncombe: Where and how can you get tested?

Andrew Jones is Buncombe County government and health care reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow or reach him at @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter. Email him at arjones@citizentimes.com.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Places where you can find free COVID tests & masks in Buncombe County

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