At-home COVID-19 tests run out in Mecklenburg Co., leaders say mask mandate data coming soon

This comes due to high demand ahead of the holidays.
Mecklenburg County discusses COVID-19 testing supply, mask mandate
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:29 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2021 at 2:11 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - COVID positivity rates have continued to tick up in Mecklenburg County. The most recent data showing it’s at 8.8 percent.

On Tuesday night, local public health leaders said tests are running low during the holidays and gave an indication the local mask mandate has been effective, even if it’s unpopular.

Tuesday was the last meeting for Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris but she made sure to point out that even though she’s retiring, COVID isn’t.

“This is my last board meeting and last COVID update, I wish it was better than it is,” Harris said.

Free at-home COVID-19 tests run out in Mecklenburg County

Harris hit on a couple of big talking points. First and foremost, while the positivity rate is going up, the amount of available tests is going down.

Long lines at sites like at Starmed help illustrate the problem and Harris says it could be a big one soon.

“We’ll definitely run out before Christmas and hopefully we’ll have more shipped in by next week,” Harris said.

On Wednesday morning, Mecklenburg County officials announced that COVID-19 at-home test kits are no longer available at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library distribution sites. This comes due to high demand ahead of the holidays.

Another big talker is the county-wide mask mandate.

In November, County Commissioners changed the guidelines for lowering the mask mandate, to just seven days below five percent positivity rate. But the rate has only gone up since then.

County commissioners said standing by the mask mandate is getting more difficult with voters.

“It’s getting harder and harder to defend the mask mandate. I would love to have concrete numbers,” Commissioner Laura Meier said.

Harris said the county will present data within the next couple of weeks that shows the mask mandate has been effective.

“It demonstrates lower case rates in Mecklenburg County with our mandate than surrounding counties that either have advisories or no mandate at all,” Harris said.

Harris did not make any mention of restricting travel during this holiday period and said compared to last Christmas, this one looks a whole lot better.

Due to nationwide supply chain issues, the number of test kits available changes on a daily basis. Any updates on at-home test kit availability will be shared on the County’s COVID-19 webpage, mecknc.gov/COVID-19. Individuals can also call the COVID-19 hotline, 980-314-9400, option 3, for updates.

There are testing sites across the county that are still available.

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