16 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan reported in one week

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 6, 2020

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Health Department reported 16 COVID-19 deaths last week, the largest number since the outbreak began.

That increase meant the county ended the week with the sixth-largest number of deaths in the state, at 79. State data show only Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Durham and Forsyth counties have more deaths than Rowan.

The most significant increases came on Friday, when there were six reported, and on Wednesday, when there were five.

That deaths are reported together does not necessarily mean they occurred on the same date, said Rowan County spokesman T.J. Brown. But deaths are generally reported less than one week from when they originally occurred, he said. It’s the responsibility of the physician caring for a patient who died after testing positive for COVID-19 to ensure that death is reported to the Rowan County Health Department, Brown said.

Most deaths last week came outside of nursing homes or congregate living facilities with active outbreaks. But nursing homes are still connected to a majority of deaths since the outbreak started, with recent nursing home outbreaks resulting in several deaths. COVID-19 is also re-emerging at facilities where prior outbreaks had been declared over. The latest example is Liberty Commons, where one resident and one employee have tested positive.

Nursing home-connected deaths are as follows:

• 21, the Citadel

• 15, N.C. State Veterans Home

• Six, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab

• Five, Accordius Health

• Five, Autumn Care

• One, Liberty Commons

Whether in nursing homes or not, most Rowan County residents who have died after testing positive are 65 or older. Eight people between the ages of 51 and 64 have died. One person between 36 and 50 has died after testing positive. The average age of the dead is 80.

Most Rowan residents who have died are white, non-hispanic and men, according to statistics provided by Rowan County.

But there are some positive trends even as reported deaths spiked last week. There are a total of 2,900 COVID-19 positives in Rowan County — a number that saw smaller average daily increases last week than the week prior. There are 396 active COVID-19 positives in Rowan County and 15 Rowan County residents hospitalized, another number that improved last week.

There are 50 hospital beds occupied, a number that includes people seeking care here from elsewhere, and eight people using ventilators – both of which are well below local capacity.

There have been 32,669 COVID-19 tests reported in Rowan — 29,755 of which are negative.

Across the state, there are 175,815 lab-confirmed cases, a number that has seen relatively flat average daily increases; 831 people currently hospitalized; 2,889 deaths and 2.41 million completed tests.