Demand for COVID-19 testing increases after Christmas and New Year’s holidays

COVID-19 testing backed up after holidays

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Right now, several thousand people are seeking COVID-19 tests each day in Mecklenburg County following the holidays.

Testing reached a peak ahead of Christmas and again on New Year’s Eve.

Now that the holidays are in the rearview mirror, the search for testing appointments is on for some people.

“I got on the phone and I called and I called and I called and I couldn’t get nothing,” Charlottean Stephen Jones said.

Jones could not find an appointment for a COVID-19 test Monday morning.

CVS, Walgreens and other Charlotte area urgent cares show no appointments for several days.

“If there’s nothing available near you expand your viewing area,” CVS pharmacy supervisor Marshal Carter said. “Just be patient is what I’m recommending to most people.”

Jones says he could not wait.

“I can’t go back to work until I get tested,” he said.

He opted for a drive-up test at StarMed on Tuckaseegee Road, where no appointment required.

Close to a thousand people have pulled up here daily over the past few days.

“I went online so this was the closest so I registered yesterday and here we are,” Linda Littleton, who visited family in Charlotte over the holidays, said.

In Mecklenburg County you can use this tool to help you find a drive up site nearest you.

When it comes to scheduling, doctors want to remind you to wait.

“Around 4 to 7 days after the exposure,” Dr. Katie Passaretti with Atrium Health said. “Your body needs some time to develop signs, symptoms of infection, let the virus settle in, so testing too early can very much give a false sense of security.”

Health officials say test results are coming back within two to three days.

Rapid test results come back sooner, but there can be a higher risk of a false negative.

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