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41 recoveries reported as COVID-19 cases continue to rise by double digits

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County officials reported on Wednesday that a total of 901 Rowan County residents have recovered from COVID-19 as the county also continued to see double-digit increases in new cases for the 11th day in a row.

Recoveries grew by 41 on Wednesday. A total of 1,235 people had tested positive Wednesday, which is an increase of 13 from one day earlier. The number of currently positive cases decreased by 28 on Wednesday and is now at 291.

An additional two people were added to the tally of people being hospitalized, amounting to a total of 22 on Wednesday. A total of 95 Rowan residents have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic, with an average age of 63. A total of 6,999 tests have been reported to the county.

There were no new deaths reported Wednesday, keeping the total at 43 people who have died in the county from COVID-19. There have been 21 from the Citadel, 15 from the N.C. State Veterans Home, one from Liberty Commons and six not associated with a congregate care facility. A total of 228 people have tested positive at congregate care facilities.

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 now at 44.1. Those aged 18-35 comprise the plurality of cases in the county, at 369. They are followed by those aged 36-50, at 311. Those older than 65 represent 238 cases. The 51-64 age bracket represents 202 cases. And a total of 115 people under the age of 18 have tested positive for COVID-19.

County officials continue to encourage residents to get tested for COVID-19. On June 9, state health officials updated its list of who should be tested, which includes anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or anyone in close contact with known positive cases, regardless of symptoms. Additionally, those who are high-risk individuals or have a higher risk of being exposed should get tested, which includes those who work or live in high-risk settings; are part of historically marginalized populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; are frontline and essential workers; and are health care workers or first responders.

Health officials also urge anyone who has recently protested or been in a large gathering to be tested. Anyone experiencing severe, life-threatening symptoms, such as severe difficulty breathing, altered thinking or blue lips, should contact 911 or seek immediate medical care.

Rowan County health officials have established 10 testing locations across the county:

  • Novant Health Rowan, located at 1904 Jake Alexander Blvd., offers testing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • East Spencer residents can be tested at the former Rowan-Salisbury Administration Building, located at 110 S. Long St., in East Spencer, on July 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and July 17 from noon to 2 p.m.
  • Salisbury Housing Authority residents can be tested at Lafayette Circle, located at 942 E. Lafayette St., on July 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The Rowan County Health Department, located at 1811 E. Innes St., conducts testing every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Additionally, the health department is also offering testing on July 16 and July 30 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., as well as July 10, July 17 and July 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Rowan Helping Ministries, located at 226 N. Long St., is conducting testing on July 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Northern Rowan Family Medicine, located at 313 N. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer, offers testing every Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Testing at the West End Plaza, located at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., is offered every Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Veterans can be tested at the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center, located at 1601 Brenner Ave.
  • Novant Health Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine, located at 530 Corporate Circle, Suite 200, is conducted Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. An appointment is required for testing at this site, and patients are tested without leaving their vehicles.
  • Fastmed Clinic, located at 1361 Klumac Rd., is conducting testing by billing patients’ insurance. If a patient doesn’t have insurance, the cost is $199 for both COVID-19 and antibody testing. No appointment is necessary.

If inclement weather is expected, Rowan County residents can call the health department’s COVID-19 hotline at 980-432-1800 for additional testing event information.

Statewide, a total of 66,513 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after 942,238 completed tests. A total of 901 people are currently being hospitalized and 1,373 people have died.

State officials have yet to make a decision on how school will look for students in the fall. On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news conference that North Carolina will continue working with schools, teachers, parents and health experts on reopening schools.

“We want to get our students back in the classroom, and we want to make sure we get this right. My number one opening priority is classroom doors,” Cooper said. “We encourage our public schools to continue planning, with a special focus on how teachers, staff, and students can best be protected – especially those who are high-risk.”

In June, the state released the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit laying out essential health practices for schools to reopen safely. Schools were asked to prepare three plans: plan A, which is in-person learning with key health and safety rules in place; plan B, which is the same as Plan A, but with fewer children in the classroom at one time; and plan C, which involves remote learning for all students.

State officials also said that this week, the state distributed protective equipment to schools across the state for use in the upcoming school year to keep students safe and healthy while at school. Called protective equipment start packs, they include a two-month supply of thermometers, surgical masks, face shields and gowns to school systems, charter schools, school nurses and delegated staff.

In total, the shipments include more than 16,500 thermometers, 7,200 face shields, 81,000 gowns and more than 347,000 surgical masks, according to state officials. Shipments to 203 charter schools, lab schools and regional schools will travel via UPS. Supplies for the 116 public school districts will ship either via UPS or directly to the school district warehouse by North Carolina National Guard teams or by a contracted trucking firm.

The state has also provided school districts with access to statewide contracts so they can more easily purchase other health and hygiene supplies, like cloth face coverings and hand sanitizer, for staff and students.

In Rowan County, Hispanic residents continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as 384 have tested positive. That amounts to 31.09% of all cases. A total of 685 white residents have tested positive, along with 163 Black residents, four Asian residents, three American Indian or Alaskan Native residents and one Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. There are 228 labeled unknown and 151 who are “other.”

A total of 641 men have tested positive and 594 women have tested positive.

Zip code 28147 remains the area with the most positive cases at 450, followed by zip code 28144 at 281 and 28146 at 160 cases.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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