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Liberty Commons resident dies from COVID-19; CDC updates guidelines

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County officials on Monday reported a resident from Liberty Commons died from COVID-19.

A total of 43 people have died from COVID-19 in the county, with 21 from the Citadel, 15 from N.C. State Veterans Home, one from Liberty Commons and six not associated with a congregate care facility. A total of 228 people at congregate care facilities have tested positive.

Monday also marks the ninth day in a row that the county has seen a double-digit increase in COVID-19 cases. A total of 1,199 people have tested positive, an increase of 36 from one day earlier, and 309 are currently positive. An additional 32 people have recovered, bringing the recovery total to 847. At least 6,584 tests have been reported to the county and 17 Rowan residents are being hospitalized.

The average age of positive cases has been dropping for weeks as younger age groups are testing positive more frequently. The average age of cases is 44.3. Those aged 18-35 comprise the plurality of cases in the county, at 357; They are followed by those aged 36-50, at 300. Those older than 65 represent 237 cases. The 51-64 age bracket represents 195 cases. A total of 110 people under 18 have tested positive for COVID-19.

Statewide, a total of 63,484 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after 886,305 completed tests. A total of 843 are currently being hospitalized and 1,325 have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently updated and expanded its list of who is at increased risk for getting severely ill from COVID-19. While older adults and those with underlying medical conditions remain at an increased risk, the CDC has removed the specific age threshold from the older adult classification. The CDC now warns that, among adults, the risk increases steadily as one ages, and it’s not just those older than 65 who are at an increased risk of severe illness.

The CDC also updated the list of underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness after reviewing published reports, pre-print studies and various other data sources. Those conditions have been expanded to include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

These changes increase the number of people who fall into higher risk groups. An estimated 60% of American adults have at least one chronic medical condition, according to the CDC. Obesity is one of the most common underlying conditions that increases one’s risk for severe illness – with about 40% of U.S. adults having obesity. The more underlying medical conditions people have, the higher their risk.

CDC also clarified the list of other conditions that might increase a person’s risk of severe illness, including additions such as asthma, high blood pressure, neurologic conditions such as dementia, cerebrovascular disease such as stroke, and pregnancy.

The CDC stated that growing research on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women shows they were significantly more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the intensive care unit and receive mechanical ventilation than nonpregnant women. However, pregnant women were not at greater risk for death from COVID-19.

Hispanic residents of Rowan County continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as 381 have tested positive. That amounts to 31.78% of all cases. A total of 674 white residents have tested positive, along with 162 Black residents, four Asian residents, two American Indian or Alaskan Native residents and one Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. There are 207 labeled unknown and 149 who are “other.”

A total of 622 men have tested positive and 577 women have tested positive.

Zip code 28147 remains the area with the most positive cases at 440, followed by zip code 28144 at 276 and 28146 at 153 cases.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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