Mecklenburg County Officials Continue To Discourage Holiday Travel
Leaders in Mecklenburg County are continuing to discourage residents from traveling for the holidays or getting together with people they don’t live with. The warning comes as COVID-19 trends in the county continue to worsen.
“For this holiday season, we ask that you stay home and only be around those who you live with,” Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said at a press conference on Monday.
Diorio said county data show that COVID-19 is still “very widespread” in the community and she called holiday gatherings “some of the most dangerous places to be.”
But Diorio is not following her own advice about holiday celebrations. She told reporters on Monday that she would be “traveling by car to Durham to see some close family, a small group.” The county manager elaborated when pressed by reporter Brett Jensen of WBT News.
“I know who the family is. I know where they spend their time so I feel comfortable making that trip,” Diorio said. “It’s two people in a household. It’s not a group. It’s a very small number of people and I feel very confident about their safety.”
Diorio added that she was “making a personal decision” based on information that she had.
Mecklenburg County reported an average of 626 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases per day, according to data released on Friday. An average of 298 individuals were hospitalized because of COVID-19 infections and the county’s test positivity rate was 12.1%.
“Our case counts are up. They have not dipped below 500 per day since early December” County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said Monday.
Harris said the county has seen a recent increase in the demand for COVID-19 tests which she said is “incredibly concerning.”
“I think it could indicate risky behavior over the next several weeks as people figure out how they want to celebrate the holidays and are testing ahead of time thinking that’s going to give them a pass to do whatever they want to do,” Harris said.
Earlier this month, Harris urged residents to modify their celebrations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. She suggested virtual holiday parties and curbside or online gift shopping and cautioned against traveling or gathering with anyone outside of one’s household.