CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The demand for COVID-19 testing has skyrocketed. Not only because cases are rising and more people are experiencing symptoms, but because many places are requiring proof of a negative test.
At this point of the pandemic, the workers at StarMed's Tuckaseegee Road location have COVID-19 testing down to a science. They've been nonstop -- compared to just a month ago, there are four times as many people getting tested each day.
"The individuals that are here right now are the ones who are doing it for the heart, they're doing it for the community,” StarMed CEO Michael Estramonte said.
After a months-long lull in testing, for the past few weeks, they've been slammed. Lines of cars weaving through the entire parking lot, hundreds of people a day needing a nose swab.
“For August this year compared to August of 2020, it’s much different. There’s not as much convenience for testing,” Estramonte said. “Our locations that are in Charlotte are the staple locations for the community right now."
They had to close early the last few days because it was just too hot for the workers outside in full PPE.
Atrium Health has testing available at most primary care offices and recently started deploying mobile testing units.
Novant Health is testing at primary and urgent care offices and will be opening new testing sites in the coming days.
Pharmacies also offer it but Estramonte said they understand a bulk of the responsibility has to be on them.
“The hospitals are doing what they can do right now and they’re focusing on patient care which is what they need to be doing," Estramonte said. "I understand the onus is on us."
As delta continues to spread, StarMed is hiring, preparing to keep testing readily available throughout this surge.
They’re working on staffing to be open earlier, break midday, and reopen in the evening to avoid the afternoon heat. Those changes have not been made yet.