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Veteran identified as second local COVID-19 death; 24 recovered in Rowan

SALISBURY — A patient at the N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury was identified Tuesday as the second person in Rowan County who died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The veterans home is located on the campus of the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center, and the company who operates the facility, PruittHealth, confirmed to the Post the veteran died Saturday. The person was considered high risk because of his or her age and underlying medical conditions, according to the Rowan County Health Department. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the person, who was experiencing serious illness, died specifically because of COVID-19, the health department said.

In its statement, PruittHealth said the veterans home is operating at “Alert Code Red” status and has been following additional protocols that include cleaning more frequently, postponing communal activities, ceasing visitation, screening staff and patients daily, restricting staff to essential personnel and halting any new admissions.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the patient’s family and loved ones during this difficult time,” PruittHealth said in its emailed statement.

No further information was provided.

The N.C. State Veterans Home is a 99-bed facility intended that provides nursing services, physical and other therapies, pain management, hospice and other services. There are four such facilities in North Carolina.

New information about the county’s second death came as Rowan County’s COVID-19 case total reached 63 on Tuesday and as the number of local people who have recovered doubled — from 12 to 24. It’s the largest one-day increase in the number of people who have recovered.

The Rowan County Health Department said eight people were hospitalized on Tuesday and that it was still inquiring about the status of 38 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

There have been 961 tests and 898 negative tests. The average age of people diagnosed in Rowan was 49.9 on Tuesday.

The largest number of cases remains in the Salisbury area, with 20 cases in the 28144 zip code and 16 in 28147.

Question and answer session scheduled

With case numbers rising, the county will have an online, public question and answer session with public questions on Wednesday, April 15, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

People can submit questions at surveymonkey.com/r/RowanCo-COVID19-QA. A livestream will be available during the event at rowancountync.gov/live.

People will also be able to use the video conferencing application Zoom or dial into the question and answer session by phone, with instructions about doing so available at rowancountync.gov/covid-19.

Anyone who believes they have symptoms of COVID-19 are being asked to contact their health care provider or the Rowan County Health Department’s hotline at 980-432-1800.

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