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Four more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan; 15 more positive

By Shavonne Potts

shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County Health officials on Thursday reported four more COVID-19 deaths and 15 more positive cases.

In its daily report, the county said a total of 12 people have died and 231 people have tested positive out of 1,716 total tests. The county report, which is released each afternoon, shows 1,485 patients who were found to be negative.

Of the people who were tested and found positive, 19 are currently hospitalized and 52 people have recovered. The average age of those who were positive is 61.2.

Rowan County Health Director Nina Oliver confirmed some of the four additional deaths Thursday and new COVID-19 positives were from the Citadel, a nursing home on Julian Road that has been the source of an outbreak. This week, the Post obtained a two-page memo that confirmed there were at least 96 positives at the facility Tuesday, more than the company that operates the facility publicly reported. It’s not been confirmed whether there were staff among those 96 cases.

The facility is owned and operated by Accordius Health, and an outbreak is defined as two or more positives in a congregate setting. The N.C. State Veterans Home on the campus of the W.G “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center is the other location of a local outbreak.

Rowan County has also provided racial data of those who’ve tested positive, which includes 125 who are white, 59 are African-American, 22 are unknown, 14 who are white/Hispanic, two people are listed as other and two Asian.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday reported 70,917 tests completed and 5,465 positive across the state. The agency reported 131 have died statewide and 452 are currently hospitalized. There are 93 counties reporting data.

Also in its Thursday statement, county health officials addressed confusion regarding essential businesses remaining open during the governor’s stay-at-home order.

The Rowan County Public Health Command Center has received questions about what businesses are considered essential, a news release said.

The governor’s executive contains 30 different business classifications that are deemed essential.

The first classification in the list is “Businesses that meet social distancing requirements.” That item stipulates that “businesses, not-for-profit organizations or educational institutions that conduct operations while maintaining social distancing requirements between and among its employees and customers except at the point of sale or purchase” may be deemed essential.

While the item may cause confusion, it is everyone’s responsibility to adhere to the stay-at-home section of the executive order, county officials said in the statement.

Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Chris Soliz said, “Staying at home is how we end the cycle of community spread and flatten the curve. The quicker we achieve this, the quicker we can once again support local business in person. Short-term sacrifices will help ensure our local economy rebounds faster and healthier.”

Rowan County’s most up-to-date data is available via its COVID-19 dashboard that includes a map of areas with positive cases, racial makeup of individuals who’ve tested positive and other data found at rowancountync.gov/covid-19.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that some of the four deaths reported in Thursday’s totals were from local nursing home the Citadel. Not all 15 of the latest positive tests for COVID-19 were from the Citadel.

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