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Second person dies in Rowan County after testing positive for COVID-19

SALISBURY — A second person in Rowan County has died after testing positive for COVID-19, the health department announced Monday.

The person was considered high risk because of his or her age and had underlying medical conditions, the Rowan County Health Department said. A news release further stated the person was experiencing serious illness prior to death and that the death may not be directly related to coronavirus.

The announcement came on the same day that the county saw its single-biggest increase in COVID-19 cases, from 46 to 58, and as officials created a local reporting form for people who violate Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, which was issued less than two weeks ago.

Cooper’s order set limits for the size of gatherings to no more than 10 and asks people to stay at home, except for working at businesses deemed “essential” or going out for food or other critical items. Rowan County’s reporting form for violations of those items is available by visiting rowancountync.gov/COVID-19.

The form comes at a time when county officials said they are working to create educational content to the public about COVID-19 and how to slow the spread.

Anyone who has spotted anyone violating the form can submit the address and type of violation. The form will be sent to the appropriate authorities, which could include law enforcement. There have already been several submissions, according to Rowan County 911 Director Allen Cress.

As of Monday afternoon in Rowan County, there have been 58 positive COVID-19 cases, according to the Rowan County Department of Public Health. That’s an increase of 12 from one day prior. The results are based on N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health and all reporting hospital and commercial labs.

One of those cases is an employee at Daimler Trucks North America’s plant in Cleveland, according to a company spokesman.

“Yesterday, (Sunday) we were informed that an individual who works at the Cleveland plant tested positive for COVID-19. The last time this employee was in the plant was on March 29, and since that time all areas of the plant have been thoroughly deep cleaned and disinfected,” a DTNA spokesman said.

DTNA had previously limited production at several manufacturing facilities in North America, including the Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant.

“We are actively monitoring our entire organization to safeguard our employees. We are designing and engineering protocols, customized for each and every production facility, to ensure we are providing work environments that comply with all the guidance of the CDC before a return to production planned on April 20, 2020,” the spokesman said in an email.

On Monday, the Rowan County Health Department said 12 people had recovered after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and that one of the cases represents someone who has died. Seven people were hospitalized on Monday.

There have been 921 specimens submitted for testing from Rowan County, health officials said. Of the 58 that tested posted, 15 were travel-related and 43 were community-acquired.

Statewide, there were 2,870 confirmed cases, 33 deaths and 40,726 tests completed on Monday. Also on Monday, 270 people in North Carolina were hospitalized.

Anyone who believes they have symptoms of the coronavirus or who have questions are urged to contact their health care provider or the Rowan County Health Department hotline at 980-432-1800.

Courthouse entrance closes

Rowan County officials plan to close the front entrance (Main Street) to the Rowan County courthouse beginning Wednesday. All foot traffic will be funneled to the Liberty Street entrance.

“This is only temporary as we work through this virus situation,” a news release said.

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