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Five new COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan

SALISBURY — County officials reported Tuesday five additional COVID-19 deaths at two local congregate care facilities.

Three of the deaths are from Trinity Oaks, the site of the latest and largest outbreak. As of Tuesday, 21 staff members and 40 residents have tested positive there, according to county data. State data shows 19 positive staff members and 38 positive residents. County health officials have previously said it’s typical for data to lag by a day or two between the state and county.

“COVID is an insidious virus,” said Bill Johnson, Trinity Oaks campus executive director. “It has claimed the lives of three nursing home residents to date. They are our family and we grieve over the loss. We continue to do everything we know to do and with support from the Rowan County Health Department and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.”

The other two deaths are from Autumn Care, where there have been five deaths there since the outbreak was first reported on Aug. 5.

The increase brings to the total number of deaths in Rowan County to 61, with 16 not from congregate care facilities and the remaining deaths from the Citadel, the N.C. State Veterans Home and Liberty Commons. The average age among the deaths is 81.

The total number of positive cases at congregate care facilities is 355, with four local facilities currently experiencing an outbreak. Autumn Care currently has 12 positive staff members, with 11 being Rowan County residents, and 33 positive residents. Accordius Health has six positive residents, and Compass Health of Spencer has one positive staff member and one positive resident. Additionally, North Hills Christian School currently has a cluster of five positive staff members.

The state is expected to provide an update on congregate care outbreaks and school clusters Tuesday afternoon.

An additional 37 locals tested positive on Tuesday, bringing the countywide total to 2,614 cases. Of those, 392 are currently positive and 2,161 people have recovered.

Hospitalizations across the county also grew on Tuesday and are now at 27. A total of 183 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since March, with an average age of 62.

Statewide, a total of 157,741 people have tested positive after 2.1 million confirmed tests, for a rate of 7.4%. While hospitalizations across the state had been on the decline, Tuesday’s update showed they’re at 1,000, and 2,570 people have died.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced $175 million to help North Carolinians with rental and utility payment support.

Approximately $94 million of the funding will be dispersed by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency for eviction prevention and utility payment assistance. It will be distributed to eligible community agencies. The fund includes $28 million from federal Community Development Block Grant, and the remaining $66 million from the federal CARES Act.

About $53 million of funding is designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus program for families experiencing homelessness or who face a more immediate risk of homelessness.

The programs will be launched in the coming weeks, along with information about how people can apply for the programs.

“COVID-19 has strained family finances across North Carolina, and many people are struggling to make ends meet,” Cooper said. “People need a safe, stable place to call home, especially during this pandemic, and we must help keep people in their homes and keep their utilities on while our economy recovers.”

Additionally, $28 million in federal funds will be administered by local governments to incorporated municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents and counties with fewer than 200,000 residents. While it’s encouraged local government prioritize helping residents with rent and outstanding utility payments, the funds can also be used to support internet access, food distribution, COVID-19 testing and employment training for health care workers.

The application process for local governments to apply can by found by clicking here.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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