State declares two local congregate living outbreaks over

Published 11:52 pm Sunday, August 2, 2020

SALISBURY — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services last week closed out two more COVID-19 outbreaks at congregate care facilities in Rowan County, including one that had been a significant source of local deaths.

In its Friday afternoon update, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said the N.C. State Veterans Home, on the campus of the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center, was was no longer an active outbreak. The nursing home, which is operated by PruittHealth, has seen 18 cases among staff members, 37 cases among residents and 15 deaths, all among residents. Three of the staff members are not Rowan residents, according to county statistics.

The N.C. State Veterans Home had been the second-worst nursing home outbreak in the county, behind the Citadel, where an outbreak had previously been declared over.

Meanwhile, NCDHHS also declared an outbreak over at Elmcroft of Salisbury, where just two staff members had tested positive. A congregate living facility is considered to have an outbreak if two people — staff or residents — test positive, meaning that Elmcroft just fit the criteria.

Rowan County statistics say there have been 240 cases at congregate living facility — a number that’s remain largely unchanged in recent days.

County statistics also show an increase in 22 cases on Sunday and one added hospitalization. There were no additional recoveries. Deaths and the number of people recovered also remained the same.

There have now been 2,025 COVID-19 positives in Rowan County, which includes 278 people who are currently considered positive. Fourteen Rowan residents were hospitalized Sunday. The county says 50 Rowan residents have died after testing positive, including 21 at the Citadel, 15 at the N.C. State Veterans Home, one at Liberty Commons and 13 outside of congregate living facilities.

Sunday’s update also showed 21,051 tests conducted, but that number does not include an up-to-date count of negatives, which are now being added on a weekly basis because of previous issues with counting them.

Across the state, there have been 125,219 cases, with the average of new cases remaining relatively flat; 1,142 currently hospitalized, with hospitalizations also plateauing; 1,969 deaths; and 1.81 million completed tests. NCDHHS says 92,302 North Carolinians have recovered after testing positive. An estimated 51.1% of North Carolina adults are at higher risk for severe illness because of age or underlying health conditions.

There are several COVID-19 testing sites in Rowan County this week, but that total does not include free testing Monday at West End Plaza, which has been canceled because of expected weather.

Testing sites this week are as follows:

• Fast Med Clinic
1361 Klumac Road, Salisbury
Will bill insurance. For non-insured individuals, the cost is $199 for both COVID-19 and antibody testing. No appointments needed.

• Novant Health Rowan
1904 Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury
Call for an appointment. Testing criteria may apply

• Novant Health Rowan screening center
315 Mocksville Ave., Salisbury
8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and Thursday

• Rowan County Health Department
1811 E Innes St., Salisbury
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday
Testing is free and open to the public