Staff member at Liberty Commons nursing home among four new positive COVID-19 cases

Published 8:09 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — Four new individuals were added to the positive case total for COVID-19 Wednesday, including a staff member at Liberty Commons, as recoveries continue to rise.

The county reported that 496 individuals have tested positive and 26 individuals have died. At least 2,915 tests have been conducted and 11 are currently being hospitalized.

Of the 26 COVID-19 deaths locally, 18 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. The average age is 83 among the deaths compared to an average age of 53.1 among all cases.

The county on Wednesday also added new data to its COVID-19 Open Data Hub, including the total number of hospitalized patients during the entirety of the outbreak, their average age, the total positive cases at congregate care facilities and a breakdown of how many cases are within each municipality.

Currently, 49 patients have been hospitalized since the first case in the county. Those patients have an average age of 66.

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

State data on nursing home outbreaks indicated on Tuesday that additional residents at both the Citadel and N.C. State Veterans Home had tested positive for COVID-19. The data showed three additional individuals tested positive at the Citadel, bringing the total to 157 cases (44 staff members and 113 residents). State data also showed that an additional 10 people had tested positive at the N.C. State Veterans Home, bringing the total to 27.

But the county’s count of congregate facility cases is different than what the state reported. County spokesman T.J. Brown said 34 of the Citadel staff members are residents of Rowan County and only 112 residents have tested positive.

The additional case the state reported on Tuesday could be the result of one resident who was unintentionally counted twice in the positive case count, Brown said. One resident, he said, was tested a second time and reported positive but counted as a new case due to the test results being addressed with the patient’s first, middle and last name as well as an old address.

At the Veterans Home, 21 residents have tested positive, and five employees are residents of Rowan County. At the Laurels, one resident and three employees have tested positive. And at Liberty Commons, four residents are positive, while one of the three total positive employees are county residents.

Brown said the discrepancy in the numbers from the county’s data and the state data, both reported to the best of their ability, may be due to a delay in the state’s reporting of cases that have already been included in the county’s count. Additionally, the state data is updated each morning while county data is released each evening.

A breakdown of cases in each municipality in the county shows Salisbury with the most cases, at 271. The next-highest amount, 165, includes cases in unincorporated areas of the county.

Additionally, part of the demographic information for positive individuals includes race and ethnicity. A total of 31 cases are classified as “unknown” race, which means they have not yet been contacted directly to confirm their race and ethnicity.

In other COVID-19 statistics:

  • Individuals age 65 and older make up the plurality of cases, at 159, and ages 51-64 currently have 97 cases. However, ages 36-50 and 18-35 continue to climb at 118 and 109 cases, respectively. A total of 13 cases are among children younger than 18 years old.
  • Of the positive cases, 318 individuals are white, 120 are black or African American, three are Asian, one is American Indian/Alaskan Native, 107 are Hispanic, 31 are unknown and 23 are other.
  • Females still make up the majority of positive cases, at 270, while males represent 226 positive cases.
  • Zip code 28147, which is where the Citadel nursing home is located, remains the area of the county with the most positive cases, at 224. Next is 28144, a Salisbury zip code, with 123 cases. Zip code 28146, which includes part of Salisbury and a large swath of eastern Rowan, currently has 61 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 or call her at 704-797-4246.

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