Rowan County follows state in trends on hospitalization disparity

Published 6:03 pm Monday, July 13, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — Demographic data provided by Rowan County on hospitalizations show Hispanic and Black residents are being disproportionately hospitalized with COVID-19.

Of the 106 total hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic in the county, 29 Black residents have been hospitalized along with 15 Hispanic residents. That amounts to 27% of hospitalizations being among Black residents and 14% among Hispanic residents. A total of 61 hospitalized patients have been white, 10 are considered “other” and six are unknown. Those numbers are somewhat in line with overall case numbers, which show 31.71% of the 1,523 cases are Hispanic residents and 13.20% are Black residents.

U.S. Census data show county’s Hispanic residents make up 9% of the overall population. Black Rowan Countians comprise about 16% of the population.

Of the state’s total cases, 44% have been among Hispanic residents and 24% have been among Black residents. Only 9.8% of the state’s overall population is Hispanic, and 22.2% are Black.

In other data released by the county Monday, 16 of the 45 total deaths have been from hospitalizations. Sixty-one patients have recovered after hospitalization.

The average age of hospitalizations is 63, with a majority (50 people) among those aged 65 or older. Those between the ages of 51 and 64 comprise 32 of the hospitalizations and 19 are among those aged 36-50. Four were in the 18-35 age range, and one was younger than 18.

Currently, 17 people in the county are being hospitalized for COVID-19.

An additional 14 people tested positive for COVID-19 according to Monday’s update, which brought the total to 1,523 total cases. This continues the county’s trend of double-digit increases in cases over the last three weeks. A total of 8,485 tests were reported on Monday.

Of the total cases, 279 are currently positive, a decrease of 49 from one day earlier because of 63 recoveries reported Monday.

The number of deaths in the county remains at 45, with all but eight from congregate care facilities. The number of cases at congregate care facilities remains at 231, with 37 residents and 15 employees at the N.C. Veterans Home, two employees at Elmcroft of Salisbury and six positive cases among employees at the Salisbury VA Community Living Center.

Statewide, a total of 87,528 cases have been confirmed after 1.22 million completed tests. A total of 1,040 people have been hospitalized, and 1,510 people have died across the state. Even as the state has increased its testing availability, the percentage of positive cases still remains around 10% of the total number of completed tests.

State health officials also reported on Monday that 67,124 people are presumed to be recovered from COVID-19.

On Monday, New Sarum Brewing Company posted on its Facebook page that one of its part-time warehouse employees tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling. The brewery said it will be closed until Thursday to spend a few days deep-cleaning the taproom.

The announcement also stated that New Sarum is taking necessary precautions to have the entire staff tested.

Last week, county health officials reported three employees at the N.C. State Veterans Home tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to the county’s update on Friday, PruittHealth, which manages the veterans home, reported that the facility 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.

On Monday, a spokesperson confirmed that the facility still remains in Alert Code Amber status, and that PruittHealth would move forward with its plan to allow additional staff and limited vendors to re-enter the facility, as well as accept new admissions. Any newly admitted patients will be quarantined for 14 days to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

In other COVID-19 statistics:

  • The average age of cases in the county is 42.9, with the plurality of cases among those aged 18-35 at 477 cases. Next is those aged 36-50 with 378 cases, along with 262 cases among the 51-64 age range and 260 cases among those older than 65. A total of 146 children younger than the age of 18 have tested positive.
  • A total of 876 white residents have tested positive, along with five American Indian/Alaskan Native residents, five Asian residents and one Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. A total of 221 are considered unknown, and 214 are considered “other.”
  • Men comprise the majority of cases at 772, while 751 cases have been among women.
  • Zip code 28147 remains the area with the most cases, at 521. Zip code 28144 has had 332 cases, and 28146 has had 221 cases.
  • Of the 17 current hospitalizations, 10 beds are being used. None of the 73 available ventilators are currently being used for COVID-19 patients.

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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