Charlotte Urgent Care Centers Are Strained By High Numbers Of COVID-19 Infection
High numbers of COVID-19 patients are putting a strain on hospitals. According to the latest numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 3,700 people in the state are currently hospitalized with the virus.
But hospitals aren’t the only medical facilities feeling the pinch brought on by COVID-19. So are urgent care centers. Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter's Tony Mecia tells WFAE "Morning Edition" host Marshall Terry for our segment BizWorthy that "urgent care" might not be the best description.
“You think ‘urgent care,’ you need to get there urgently, you want to go right away,” Mecia said. “The problem is if you show up at a lot of urgent care in Charlotte nowadays, the walk-in wait time can be several hours to three or four hours or longer. They can't always see you the same day. They ask you to go online, maybe book an appointment, and that can sometimes take a day.”
Listen to the full conversation by clicking the audio above.
It's unclear whether the long wait times can be attributed to a staffing shortage or just more patients with the latest delta variant surge. Mecia had some tips for how to manage an urgent care visit, if you find you need to use one, including to go first thing in the morning and to book an appointment online.
"Also maybe look at some independent providers, just go beyond maybe Atrium Health, Novant," he said. "There are other health care options, too."
Despite the coronavirus' continued presence, Mecia said several longstanding Charlotte festivals are back on this year: the Renaissance Festival, Speed Street, the Southern Christmas Show, Festival in the Park at Charlotte's Freedom Park.
Most are adding some special COVID-19 safety precautions, though.
"For example, the Festival in the Park, they have fewer artists who are going to be there, are going to be spread out a little bit more, allow more room for people to walk so you can avoid the crowds there," Mecia said.
Other topics discussed in BizWorthy:
We've experienced shortages of lumber and toilet paper during the pandemic. What's the latest? Paint. Why?
"In all of these shortages, it's usually not just one factor, it's usually multiple things," Mecia said. "It's production problems at the plant. It's supply shortages, maybe driven by fewer delivery drivers. And then there's the demand side and that you have seen an increase, in the case of paint, of people who are nesting or staying at home more, they want to fix up the house."
UNC Charlotte began a recent marketing campaign where it asked to be called UNC Charlotte or simply Charlotte. Won't that be confusing?
"They say they're doing it to try to resolve the confusion," Mecia said. "I think because a lot of people confuse UNC — which usually means Chapel Hill — with UNCC, UNC Charlotte. Although I guess we can't call it UNCC anymore. So we're going to call it UNC Charlotte."