Long lines expected at COVID testing sites following Labor Day weekend

CHARLOTTE — Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in COVID-19 cases following a holiday weekend, and over the next few days and weeks, we’ll likely find out if that is the case again after Labor Day weekend.

After a busy holiday weekend at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, local doctors expect to see a September surge of COVID-19 cases.

“Our planes were full, going and coming,” said traveler Gail Delaney.

The TSA said it screened more than 5 million passengers between Friday and Sunday -- that’s almost 90% of the crowds from 2019, before the pandemic.

Last week, the CDC urged unvaccinated travelers to stay home.

“Well, we’re both vaccinated, so that’s very important,” traveler Justin Maxwell told Channel 9. “And clearly masked the whole time.”

“I am vaccinated. I’m wearing a mask. I wash my hands. You know, it’s commonsense things,” said another traveler, John Bowerman-Davies.

Those travelers are expected to increase the demand for COVID testing, like at StarMed’s clinic in west Charlotte.

Testing sites in Charlotte have already been seeing long lines of people looking to get tested.

StarMed was only open for three hours on Labor Day but said they were still incredibly busy. With normal hours resuming on Tuesday at the testing site at old Eastland Mall, they’re expecting to see even more demand.

In just three hours, they tested nearly 300 people on Monday. On a normal day they test about 400.

The CDC recommends those who are not vaccinated get tested after a trip. But even travelers who are vaccinated said they are playing it safe.

“It’s just a lot of people,” Delaney said. “I wasn’t expecting a lot of people, you know, since we’ve heard so much about people aren’t traveling. I think they must’ve changed their minds like we did.”

StarMed is testing from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

(WATCH BELOW: Testing sites face challenges as delta variant surges)