Mecklenburg County plans to test an additional 5% of its population -- about 55,000 more people -- for the coronavirus over the next 30 days, under a plan announced Thursday by county Public Health Director Gibbie Harris.
That’s in addition to the 36,000 people who have already gotten tests, Harris said.
“That is roughly 1,850 tests per day,” Harris said. “We’ve actually reached and even exceeded that target for the last two days based on the hospital systems' testing. So we think we’re in pretty good shape to move forward with this strategy."
She said the additional testing will be phased in in three priority groups.
Group 1 includes people with moderate to severe coronavirus symptoms, health care workers, first responders, people who live or work in nursing homes or other congregant settings, people over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions.
Group 2 includes, among others, those with mild coronavirus symptoms, including children and certain asymptomatic people. The third group will include people “who support critical infrastructure,” though Harris did not specify what that means.
Harris said increasing testing is critical during North Carolina’s three-phase reopening plan.
“So that we can track infections, isolate the infected and quarantine those that are exposed. This is the only way that we’re going to continue to keep this under control,” she said.
As of noon Thursday, the county had about 1,930 confirmed coronavirus cases.
Click here for the latest coronavirus news on WFAE’s live blog.
Sign up here for The Frequency, WFAE’s daily email newsletter.
What questions do you have about the coronavirus? What has this experience been like for you? Share your questions below.