Two new COVID-19 deaths, congregate care outbreaks reported

Published 6:08 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — Two additional Rowan residents not living in a congregate care facility have died after testing positive for COVID-19, the Health Department said Wednesday. The deaths also accompanied two new congregate care facilities have seen an outbreak.

A total of 55 people have died with COVID-19 in the county, with 16 of those deaths not associated with a congregate care facility. That marks four deaths in a week’s time, with two from Autumn Care of Salisbury — the site of the current largest congregate care outbreak.

As of Wednesday, county data show there are 11 positive staff and 33 positive residents at Autumn Care, along with one positive employee and one positive resident at Compass Health in Spencer.

Trinity Oaks, located on Klumac Road, is now the site of another COVID-19 outbreak. The facility told the Post on Wednesday that four staff members and two residents have tested positive at its health and rehab facility, along with one positive staff member at Trinity at Home, which handles home care.

Bill Johnson, Trinity Oaks’ campus executive director, said testing for residents and staff continues, and that the facility will “continue to diligently follow infection control and isolation protocols.”

On Aug. 7, state health officials issued an order that requires biweekly staff testing for nursing homes across the state and more state funding for the tests until November. The state health department is also deploying additional infection control support teams to manage outbreaks at congregate care facilities. Existing guidance requires facilities with active cases to be tested weekly.

State guidance also requires symptomatic residents and asymptomatic residents who test positive for COVID-19 to be “cohorted in a designated location and cared for by a consistent group of designated facility staff.”

“Outbreaks in congregate care facilities are inevitable when infection is pervasive in the community,” said Lutheran Services Carolinas president Ted Goins in a statement. “Despite the pandemic, Trinity Oaks has fared incredibly well over these past five months. Our Trinity Oaks teammates have really stepped up under extraordinary pressure, and we are proud of them for how they’ve held the line against COVID.”

Also on Wednesday, county data showed Accordius Health of Salisbury, a nursing home on Statesville Boulevard, had been declared an outbreak as two residents have tested positive.

Accordius Health also operates the Citadel on Julian Road, which is a source of a plurality of COVID-19 deaths and was the largest outbreak in the state before it was declared over. The ownership company did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment from the Post.

The latest numbers mean four congregate care facilities currently have outbreaks. County data on Wednesday didn’t include the Trinity Oaks outbreak on its data hub, but including it would bring the total number of cases at congregate care facilities to 297.

Wednesday’s update showed an additional 23 people tested positive in the county, bringing the total to 2,419, including congregate care cases. The number of currently positive cases decreased on Wednesday, and is now at 314. Recoveries continue to rise and are now at 2,050.

Hospitalizations rose to 25 on Wednesday, with a total of 170 patients hospitalized since March, for an average age of 63.

A total of 24,535 tests have been reported to the county, which doesn’t include the most up-to-date number of negative tests. That number, along with the percent positive rate, is expected to be updated Thursday.

Though hospitalizations across the state have been on the decline, Wednesday’s total showed that number increased to 1,001 after remaining at 980 since Monday. A total of 147,932 people have tested positive after 1.98 million completed tests, for a rate of 7%. A total of 2,431 people have died across the state.

Little has changed with demographic data regarding the outbreak in Rowan County. Hispanic residents have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic for months now, and currently comprise a little more than 34% of all cases. White residents make up more than half of all cases, while Black residents make up nearly 14% of all cases. Fewer than than 1% of all cases have been among Asian residents, American Indian/Alaskan Native residents and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander residents. A little more than 28% of all cases are considered unknown or other.

The average age of positive cases is 42.6. Young adults still make up the plurality of all cases, as 748 people aged 18-35 have tested positive. Locals between the ages of 36-50 comprise 580 cases, along with 438 cases among the 51-64 age bracket and 402 cases among those 65 and older. Cases among those under 18 are currently at 251.

Nearly 52% of all cases have been among women.

A total of 702 cases have been within zip code 28147, and 502 have been within the 28144 area.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the case count at Trinity Oaks. There have been four staff members and two residents positive at Trinity Oaks and one additional positive at Trinity at Home, which provides home care. We apologize for the error.

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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