Public health officials announce the county’s first COVID-19 death

Published 7:40 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Health Department on Friday said a person died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The patient, a resident of Rowan County, was in the high-risk category due to age and underlying medical conditions, a news release stated. There have now been five deaths from COVID-19 in the state, two of which occurred in neighboring Cabarrus County.

As of Friday evening, there were 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.

Rowan County Health Director Nina Oliver reported that 312 tests have been submitted to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. This number includes 298 negative and 14 positive results. The results are from the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all reporting hospital and commercial labs. Because Novant Health, which operates Rowan Medical Center, has contracted for testing with LabCorp, many local tests have been conducted by commercial labs.

On Friday, the county also released more data about local cases in the form of a map showing the 28147 zip code, which is in the Salisbury area, had five people with COVID-19. That was the highest of any zip code in the county.

Other cases are as follows:

• Four cases in the 28144 zip code — in the Salisbury area.

• One confirmed case in the 28088 zip code — in the Landis Area.

• One confirmed case in the 28159 zip code — in the Spencer area.

• Two confirmed cases in the 28146 zip code, which includes parts of Salisbury and some of the eastern and southern parts of the county.

Other zip codes in the county do not yet have a resident with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The updates came as N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper executed a statewide stay-at-home order that takes effect 5 p.m Monday. Cooper cited data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which has documented 763 cases across 60 counties and has identified the occurrence of widespread community transmission of the virus.

In order to mitigate community spread and reduce the burden on the state’s healthcare providers and facilities, Cooper said, it is necessary to limit unnecessary person-to-person contact in communities and workplaces.

Some nearby counties, including Cabarrus and Mecklenburg, had already instituted stay-at-home orders. Rowan County did not implement a stay-at-home order before the state.