COVID testing sites in Mecklenburg County are seeing extremely high numbers as cases spike, leaving healthcare providers struggling to handle the sudden increase.
“We are seeing steeper increases (in cases) than we’ve ever seen before, in a shorter time frame,” Atrium Health infectious disease expert Dr. Katie Passaretti told reporters on Tuesday, the same day state health officials reported that more than 3,000 people in North Carolina were in hospitals because of Covid-19.
In Mecklenburg County, officials reported that, as of Sunday, 27.6% of the people who were being tested for the virus were found to be infected.
Novant Health infectious disease expert Dr. David Priest said the increase comes as the Omicron variant, which is highly contagious, has surpassed the Delta variant in positive case numbers throughout North Carolina.
“At Novant health, our rolling seven-day Covid test positivity rate is 34% or higher in all of our markets,” Priest said. “Some are approaching 40%, (which) really speaks to how infectious the Omicron variant is.”
Novant Health is performing between 400 to 500 tests daily at its 125 Baldwin Avenue location in Charlotte.
To deal with the high volume, Novant Health is extending its testing hours at the Baldwin Avenue location to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Further complicating matters, the healthcare companies are reporting staffing shortages as more healthcare workers are contracting the virus.
To maintain its testing capabilities, Atrium Health has had to “flex and adjust” its work staff, Passaretti said.
Both health providers are advising the public to seek out available testing sites instead of going to emergency departments to get tested.
Here are some available testing sites in Charlotte:
- Novant Health (125 Baldwin Ave) 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday
- First Baptist Church-West (1801 Oaklawn Avenue) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays
- One Love Periodic Service (4922 Albemarle Road) 10 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Atrium Health (4222 Beam Road) 10a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
- StarMed East (5344 Central Ave) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday
This story is part of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative’s special coronavirus coverage – reporting on and engaging the community around the problems and solutions as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.