Mecklenburg County COVID-19 numbers not looking good ahead of Thanksgiving

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CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Even on Thanksgiving week, there are still lines at COVID testing centers across the area.

At the StarMed testing clinic off Freedom Drive, those in line are getting tested because they are showing symptoms, or they are wanting to be safe before they head out for the holiday.

But even those in line know things are not good right now with Mecklenburg County’s COVID-19 numbers—they are going up, following a national trend of rising cases around the holiday.

“You got a lot of people who are not taking the shot,” said Morris Gausi, who was in line to get tested.

Gausi said he wants to be safe by getting tested, but county health officials are continuing to admit, slowly but surely, that cases are inching back above what they want.

Ever since Mecklenburg County started giving daily percent positive cases, cases have fluctuated, but have remained above the key 5% indicator mark. County commissioners recently decided to end the mask mandate once percent positives were below 5% for seven days.

In the last few days, it’s gone up even further. As of Monday, the percent positive is 6.6%.

“I’m concerned deeply when you get e-mails saying, ‘Why are you taking our rights away?’,” said Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake, who represents District 2, which includes a current COVID-19 hotspot in Steele Creek. “No one is taking your rights away.”

County maps released earlier this month showed that areas of eastern Mecklenburg County, along with Sugar Creek and Steele Creek had the highest ‘per 100,000’ case count.

“If it is in Steele Creek, we need to challenge Steele Creek to do what it must do to save lives,” she said.

But there is a question on what is being done on the county level to get the rate below that key 5% indicator. There were hopes it would be near that by Thanksgiving, though it looks increasingly unlikely.

FOX 46 spoke with two other commissioners along with Leake who said vaccines are the primary way to drive down the county’s positivity rate. They also said the blame cannot be put on specific neighborhoods or towns, noting it is a county-wide issue that needs a county-wide solution.

“I think they have to explain to them that it’s safe, not harmful,” said Rebecca Gausi, who was also waiting in line to get tested. “I think a lot of people are afraid to take the shot because it’ll cause a lot of problems for them.”

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