CDC to visit Mecklenburg County to analyze COVID-19 response

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte’s fight against COVID-19 will get national attention Wednesday as a team from the CDC arrives to help.

Right now, hospitals in the Charlotte area are running at about 80 percent capacity which is steady, according to the Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris.

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Contact tracing is an important part of lowering the area’s case numbers. Once someone tests positive, contact tracers track down people who may have been in contact with the infected person.

The CDC team will analyze how Mecklenburg County’s contact tracing is working, whether it’s effective and how to help streamline the process.

Harris updated commissioners Tuesday night and said of the 5,200 cases they have worked since early June, about 25 percent didn’t have enough information to contact someone.

She said those are people who could potentially spread the virus to someone else and not know it.

The CDC visit is one of three federal agencies to visit the Charlotte area, all aimed at helping get the infection rate under control.

“They are very interested in seeing how things are working at the local level and are going to be working with us to think through how we might streamline and improve the process considering the numbers we are seeing in some communities,” Harris said.

Some doctors argue contact tracing is no longer effective. A doctor from Baylor College of Medicine said the surge in cases is so out of control, contact tracing is no longer possible in the South.

“So, essentially, even our limited means of public health control are not possible so this is, this dramatic acceleration, the epidemic is out of control in the southern part of the United States,” Dr. Peter Hotez said.

A COVID response assessment team, along with a representative from FEMA will visit Charlotte soon to analyze data.

That group will file a report that will go up to the president’s coronavirus task force.