UPDATED: County up to 473 COVID-19 cases, 185 recoveries after week of double-digit jumps

Published 9:15 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — Throughout the week, positive COVID-19 cases continued to rise in Rowan County, but so did the number of recoveries.

On Saturday, county officials reported 473 positive COVID-19 cases, with 25 deaths, after 2,803 tests conducted. A total of 14 individuals were being hospitalized, and 185 have recovered.

Except for Wednesday and Saturday, Rowan County this week experienced double-digit jumps in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, starting with 381 cases and increasing to the current case count of 273. However, a total of 76 recoveries have been confirmed this week. Sunday’s recovery total was 109 and Saturday’s was 185.

Statewide, 14,360 positive cases have been confirmed after 186,362 completed tests. A total of 544 individuals have died, and 513 are currently being hospitalized.

Four congregate living facilities in Rowan County are the sites of active COVID-19 outbreaks, including the Citadel, located on Julian Road; N.C. State Veteran’s Home, located on the Hefner VA Medical Center campus; Liberty Commons, located at 4412. S. Main St.; and the Laurels of Salisbury, located at 215 Lash Dr.

State data regarding nursing home outbreaks, which is updated every Tuesday and Friday, indicate there are currently six total cases of COVID-19 at Liberty Commons, 17 cases at the Veteran’s Home, 154 cases at the Citadel and two cases at the Laurels. In the increase of 10 cases at the Citadel this week were staff members who don’t reside in Rowan County, according to county spokesperson TJ Brown. State data also continue to show a higher number of cases here — 480 compared to the local total of 473.

Of the 25 COVID-19 deaths locally, 17 have been from the Citadel nursing home, seven have been from the N.C. State Veteran’s Home and one was not associated with a congregate living facility. There is an average age of 84 among the deaths compared to an average age of 53.8 among all cases.

But Rowan County continues to have more cases and COVID-19 deaths as well as a lower percentage of recoveries than any of its immediate neighbors, including Cabarrus County, which has 340 cases and 17 deaths. State data also show Rowan remains in the top six counties for positive cases and in a similar position for its number of deaths.

Officials say the county continues to experience community spread, meaning the virus is being transmitted from person-to-person in the general population. Of the total 467 positive cases, Brown said 82 have occurred outside of congregate care facilities within the last seven days, which accounts for 28.25% of the 288 cases that aren’t affiliated with congregate care settings. Thus, county officials urge citizens to use caution when leaving home by maintaining at least six feet of distance from others and wearing a mask, including children aged 2 years and older.

The double-digit increases also come at the start of of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order that transitions into phase one of allowing businesses and services to reopen and just as states across the nation are reopening businesses based on consistent decreases in the total amount of positive cases.

County officials say Rowan County parks have been and continue to remain open. However, park restrooms and attractions are closed and will remain closed during Phase One, which includes playgrounds and picnic shelters. The Dan Nicholas Park campground will remain closed, as well as all Rowan Wild exhibits. Locals and visitors are allowed to walk trails, ride bikes and fish while adhering to social distancing measures.

In other COVID-19 statistics:

  • Individuals aged 65 and older make up the plurality of cases at 157. However, ages 36-50 and 18-35 continue to climb at 108 and 103 cases, respectively. A total of 11 cases are among children younger than 18 years old.
  • Of the positive cases, 288 individuals are white, 114 are black or African American, three are Asian, one is American Indian/Alaskan Native, 71 are Hispanic, 56 are unknown and 11 are other.
  • Females still make up the majority of positive cases, at 257, while males represent 216 positive cases.
  • Zip code 28147 remains the area of the county with the most positive cases, at 215, which is where the Citadel nursing home is located. Next is 28144, a Salisbury zip code, with 115 cases. Zip code 28146, which includes part of Salisbury and a large swath of eastern Rowan, currently has 60 positive cases.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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