Another death confirmed at Citadel nursing home as case numbers in Rowan continue to grow

Published 6:12 pm Monday, April 27, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

SALISBURY — Another person associated with the Citadel Salisbury, a local nursing home that is the site of a large COVID-19 outbreak, has died, according to the latest update from the Rowan County Department of Public Health.

That brings the death total from COVID-19 at the Julian Road site, one of three nursing home outbreaks in the county, to 16 of the 21 local deaths. Four residents have died at the N.C. State Veterans Home and one has died who was not associated with a congregate living facility. The average age of deaths is 82, county data shows. That’s higher than the average age of positive cases — 57.9.

There have been 346 positive cases of COVID-19 in Rowan County. And there are currently 249 people who have not recovered or died from the coronavirus-caused disease.

This weekend, Liberty Commons nursing home, located at 4412 S. Main St., became the third Rowan County congregate living facility with an outbreak — two or more positive confirmed cases in a facility — but so far there have only been two staff members to test positive there, according to data released by Rowan Public Health. Residents have been tested.

On Monday, the state announced it would also include more data on congregate living facilities by providing the name, number of positive cases and deaths at those facilities. That data shows the Citadel as having more positive COVID-19 cases — 144 — than any other nursing home in the state. The N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury has 16 lab-confirmed cases.

The state data for deaths at the Citadel, 10, do not match local information from the Rowan County Health Department, which says 16 people associated with the facility have died after testing positive.

The number of positive cases in Rowan County was also higher than what’s displayed on the state’s website, 352.

A Rowan County spokesman confirmed 144 is an accurate count of cases that occurred at the Citadel facility, and that there are 109 COVID-19-positive residents, 34 staff and one patient who was at the facility temporarily. It’s the hardest-hit nursing home in the state.

The exact reason for the discrepancies regarding deaths at the Citadel facility was not clear Monday afternoon. While Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Chris Soliz said the difference in the state numbers and the county totals is the process and the time of day that data is released, state numbers have been higher than the local count for several days.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says it will update details on congregate living facilities two times per week. And it warned that data is preliminary and may differ from those numbers from local health departments. State data is entered into the North Carolina Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NC EDSS). The data is subject to change based on information verified and submitted by local health departments.

The state agency says it also plans to share case counts associated with zip code, which Rowan County currently provides those details via its data hub —

Other Rowan County data includes:

• A total of 2,232 total tests taken. Of those, 1,886 have been negative and 346 people were positive for COVID-19.

• The county is following up with 233 individuals, 76 people have recovered and 16 are still hospitalized.

• Cases by race include 198 patients who are white, 97 black or African-American, 26 white/Hispanic, 19 unknown, three listed as other, two Asian and one person listed as American Indian/Alaskan Native.

• The number of positive cases by age includes 142 patients over age 65, 69 patients ages 51-64, 68 cases ages 36 to 50, 65 cases for those 18-35 years old and two cases of patients below the age of 18.

• There are 156 positive cases showing people who live in the 28147 zip code, which includes the Citadel of Salisbury, with the next highest cluster of positive cases — 82 — in the 28144 zip code.

• More females — 195 are testing positive than males — 151.

According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which updates its data in the morning, there have been 9,142 positive COVID-19 cases statewide from 109,920 total tests taken. There are currently 306 people who have died from the virus and 473 hospitalized from 95 reporting counties.