Charlotte residents still lining up for COVID-19 tests as Thanksgiving approaches

COVID-19 testing before Thanksgiving holiday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A long line of vehicles stretched down through the parking lot of the StarMed Family & Urgent Care location on Tuckaseegee Road in west Charlotte Tuesday night. The people waiting in the cars were hoping to get tested for COVID-19.

There has been increased demand for COVID-19 tests as the Thanksgiving holiday draws nearer.

Charlotte resident Dayja Garrett said she went to the StarMed location Tuesday afternoon to get a test because she has been feeling under the weather and wants to protect her family.

“(It’s) very important. I have a little one. I have a three-year-old son so you know with kids it’s like their immune system is not quite as strong as ours, so I also want to keep him safe as well,” said Garrett.

She said she also wanted to get tested before she sees loved ones on Thanksgiving. Garrett said that even though her gathering will be small, she will still be around some family members.

“I don’t want to sit in my room Thanksgiving and have my food, have to put it outside of my door, so I definitely want to be around family,” said the Charlotte mother.

While Garrett’s plan is to stay in Charlotte for the holiday, others who got tested Tuesday night told WBTV they were hoping to travel in the next few days. Kashif Akhtar and his family sat patiently in their vehicle waiting for a test at StarMed.

“We are planning to go to Boston and one of the requirements is that we have to have it done so that’s why we’re here,” explained Akhtar.

Charlotte resident Ryleigh Campbell said she hoped to travel to see her family in Charleston for Thanksgiving but wanted to get a COVID test first.

“I’m planning to go home tomorrow, but obviously if I test positive then those plans will be canceled and I’ll just stay and quarantine,” said Campbell.

According to StarMed’s website, the healthcare provider offers both a nasal swab test and a rapid antibody blood test.

State officials in North Carolina have warned that a negative test is not an excuse to ignore social distancing and gather with family for Thanksgiving. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen addressed the uptick in testing during a press conference Monday afternoon.

“The safest thing we can do for our loved ones is follow the CDC guidance and avoid traveling and getting together in person,” said Cohen.

Despite the warnings, some still plan to travel for the holiday. People who spoke to WBTV Tuesday night said they would be disappointed if they had to miss family gatherings due to a positive COVID test.

“I’ll be disappointed. I haven’t seen my family in a long time, but I know it’s the better option to stay home so I’ll be happier that I won’t put others at risk,” said Campbell.

The west Charlotte StarMed location is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to the healthcare provider’s website.

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