‘This is a big sacrifice’: Meck leaders urge families not to gather for Thanksgiving

‘This is a big sacrifice’: Meck leaders urge families not to gather for Thanksgiving

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County leaders issued new warnings Friday ahead of Thanksgiving, urging Charlotteans not to gather with friends and family for the holiday.

Cases in the county are expected to top 40,000 this week, with more than 400 total deaths and a positivity rate is 8.7%.

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The health department is now asking people to not travel or even gather for Thanksgiving.

“We understand fully this is a big sacrifice that we all have to make ourselves,” said Mecklenburg County Deputy Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington. “The risk is simply too great.”

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Washington said Friday that the health department is seeing 300 to 400 reports of new cases daily. The county also said hospitals are seeing an increase in demand for COVID-19 treatment and warned the community spread we’re already seeing could get worse.

“As of today, we remain in the yellow zone,” said County Manager Dena Diorio. “That’s certainly not good, but it’s better than some counties surrounding our area. However, if cases and positivity rate continue to climb, we should expect Mecklenburg County to elevate to orange in the next report.”

Logan Runyan said every year she goes to South Carolina for Thanksgiving.

“Since I was little, that’s where my grandparents have always lived so that’s just how it always been,” Runyan.

But this holiday, she won’t see her grandmother instead she will stay at home.

“So this is our first year not going, so it’s different, but that’s okay we’ll get through it,” Runyan said.

She said she’s listening to the CDC guidelines echoed by Mecklenburg County health officials.

“We’re asking everyone in our community to avoid traveling as well,” Washington said. “And to especially avoid any gatherings this year. We understand fully that this is a big sacrifice that we all have to make ourselves. But the risk at this time is simply too great.”

But the reality of having to choose between loved ones and safety on top of dealing with COVID fatigue is hard.

“This is the time of year when everyone wants to get together and unfortunately its just not how it can be this year and it stinks and I know everyone’s disappointed but sometimes yo have to do it for the better of other people,” Runyan said.

According to Washington, their team is still contact tracing 30 Halloween gatherings as we head into thanksgiving.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has limited indoor gatherings to just 10 people and recommends eating Thanksgiving outside, if possible.

More COVID-19 testing sites open across Charlotte ahead of Thanksgiving

On Thursday, North Carolina shattered its single-day case record with nearly 4,300 people diagnosed with the virus in one day.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the CDC said getting tested is more important than ever.

Crowds at testing locations across the Carolinas have been building in recent days, and Atrium Health expects the same Friday.

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Where you can get tested:

  • Target in University City will offer testing Nov. 20-22 from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m.
  • Stratford Richardson YMCA (1946 West Blvd.) will offer testing Friday, Nov. 20 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Parking Lot on Beam Road (4222 Beam Road) will offer testing Saturday, Nov. 21 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • The county is also expanding hours at the NW Health Department. Testing there will now take place from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Here are some other sites where you can get tested.

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Atrium said the testing site is for people with COVID-19 symptoms and you can just show up -- you don’t have to have an appointment.

This is part of a larger last-minute scramble to get people tested before Thanksgiving, which is the recommendation we’ve seen from state and county health officials.

While they’re focusing on testing, they’re also looking ahead to a vaccine, making plans now to ensure there will be enough to go around when the time comes.

“Mecklenburg County, as well as our health systems, have made steps to secure additional freezers to store the vaccine at the necessary temperatures so, both on the health system side and members of our community, we have plenty of storage capacity,” said Washington.

Since there is such a high demand for testing at the moment, Atrium is offering another testing site Saturday at the Stratford Richardson YMCA.

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More COVID-19 testing sites open across Charlotte ahead of Thanksgiving