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UPDATED: Three employees at veterans home home test positive; state sees another record increase

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — For 21 days in a row, Rowan County has seen double-digit increases new positive tests, with 27 new cases coming Friday and 16 coming Saturday.

Those totals include three employees at the N.C. State Veterans Home, bringing the congregate care facility case count to 231. The new cases also bring the total number of cases at the veterans home to 52. Cases at Elmcroft remain at two positive employees along with six positive employees at the Salisbury VA Community Living Center.

Prior to Friday’s update, PruittHealth, which manages the veterans home, reported that the veterans home had moved to Alert Code Amber status to signify no active or presumptive positive cases. The company said the facility will continue to implement enhanced infection control protocols, including increased cleaning frequency, postponing communal activities, screening staff, vendors and patients daily and ceasing visitation with the exception of patients in end-of-life stages.

The total positive case count is now at 1,491 after a total of 8,140 tests have been reported. Recoveries rose on Friday but, as is typical for weekend reports, stayed the same on Saturday. A total of 1,136 people have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

Hospitalizations remain at 17.

There have 45 deaths in the county from COVID-19, with all but eight from congregate care facilities.

Statewide, another record was set Saturday when the number of confirmed cases increased by 2,462 — the highest one day increase and a sign of a spiking number of positive tests across the state. Now, a total of 83,793 people have tested positive and 1,499 have died after getting COVID-19. Hospitalization, though, are also at a record high, at 1,093 people. There have been 1.18 million tests completed in the state and about 7.12% of tests have returned positive across the state.

“Record-high numbers like today are concerning,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen in a news release. “We all have a responsibility to one another to wear a face covering, avoid crowds and wash our hands often to get our trends going back in the right direction.”

Hispanic residents of Rowan County continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. A total of 483 Hispanic residents have tested positive, which comprises 32.39% of all cases in the county. A total of 872 cases have been among white residents, along with 200 Black residents, five Asian residents, five American Indian/Alaskan Native residents and one Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander resident. Additionally, 194 cases are considered “unknown,” and 214 are labeled “other.”

The average age of positive cases is at 43, with adults between the age of 18 and 35 comprising the plurality of cases, at 463. Those aged 36-50 make up 370 cases, along with 255 people aged 51-64 and 259 cases among adults older than 65. Cases among those younger than 18 continue to rise and are now at 144.

A total of 734 women have tested positive for COVID-19, along with 757 men.

Zip code 28147 remains the area of the county with the most cases at 516, followed by 28144 with 326 cases and 28146 with 214 cases.

An effort by Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is matching North Carolina college students in need of work experience with local governments and nonprofits seeking additional help to support COVID-19 response efforts.

As the pandemic caused many students to lose summer jobs and internships lined up months ago, this effort aims to serve the many local governments and nonprofits that need additional help grappling with COVID-19 in their communities.

More than 80 North Carolina college students have been matched to opportunities with local government agencies and nonprofits across the state, according to state officials. Nearly all projects are virtual and include opportunities for interns to assist with grant writing and research, marketing and communications, community engagement and volunteer coordination, data analysis and strategic planning. Interns are working with a variety of organizations, including county economic development departments, local chambers of commerce, non-profit service providers and arts organizations.

The N.C. COVID-19 Student Response Corps initiative is part of Cooper’s NC Job Ready, a program aimed to help strengthen the public service talent pipeline and prepare North Carolina students for employment.

A list of current internship opportunities is available by visiting the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps Database. For more information on the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps initiative, contact Caroline Tervo at covidinterns@osbm.nc.gov.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story stated three veterans from the N.C. State Veterans Home tested positive for COVID-19, but county officials report it was three employees who tested positive. We apologize for the error.

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