Charlotte COVID-19 testing centers busy ahead of new year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – In Mecklenburg County, the most recent COVID-19 data shows the positivity rate remains well above 15%.

Health leaders expect that number to only get higher. The positivity rate needs to be below 5% for a full week to drop the indoor mask mandate.

Related: Mecklenburg Co. officials vote to change guidelines for when mask mandate can be lifted

Because of those numbers, county health leaders are urging residents to rethink their New Year’s Eve plans.

At StarMed in west Charlotte, there have been long lines all week as people try to get a COVID-19 test. A lot of people are expected there Friday trying to get a test ahead of the new year.

That west Charlotte StarMed location and others across the city open at 9 a.m. At 5:30 a.m. Friday, four cars were already lined up ahead of the opening of the testing site.

StarMed’s workers here have given thousands of tests this week. In fact, at least 20 employees have tested positive this week.

With a shortage of at-home tests, the lines at the location are expected to continue. To help with that, county officials really want people to keep their New Year’s Eve celebrations small to avoid spreading the virus.

Related: ‘That can be your New Year’s resolution’: Mecklenburg Co. leaders urge residents to do their part as positivity rate soars to 15 percent

“Please rethink your New Year’s Eve plans. If you can, make it a smaller gathering. Make it with your immediate family. If not, try to make it outside. Take advantage of this nice warm weather and be outside would be a good way to think about celebrating New Year’s,” said Dr. Sid Fletcher with Novant Health.

While some businesses have canceled their New Year’s Eve celebrations, the city of Charlotte is continuing its annual outdoor event in uptown with entertainment and fireworks. Charlotte Center City Partners said masks and social distancing are a part of those plans.

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