StarMed closes COVID-19 testing, vaccination site due to extreme heat

CHARLOTTE — Tuesday was the first time StarMed was forced to close a COVID-19 testing and vaccine site since the pandemic started, the company’s CEO told Channel 9.

Operations were shut down at the Tuckaseegee Road site to protect staff members from the excessive heat.

“Thank you for your understanding and patience,” the company tweeted.

The heat index in Charlotte during the afternoon reached 100 degrees.

“For testing, our volume has gone up eight times, vaccines around three times, so the surge has definitely had an impact,” StarMed CEO Mike Estramonte said.

Estramonte said his employees are overworked because of the delta surge -- four workers have quit this week.

[READ MORE: Study finds unvaccinated people 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19]

That, and the temperatures, proved to be too much on Tuesday.

“We’re used to the volume,” Estramonte said. “It was the heat. They were wearing full-protective gear with the heat index over 100 today. We’ve had too many instances where we had to sit down employees, make sure they stay hydrated.”

“It’s easy to get frustrated when you are not feeling well,” Estramonte said. “If that’s the case, then I do apologize to anybody that we had to turn away today.”

It will be slightly cooler Wednesday with some storms in the area, so Estramonte plans for workers to return. He said, though, that if it gets too hot again, he will pull them back.

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