One additional COVID-19 death reported; local church reports outbreak among members

Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — An additional COVID-19 death was reported to the county Tuesday and a local church reported nearly two dozen of its members have tested positive.

The death was from Liberty Commons, which is currently in its second outbreak. Tuesday’s death amounts to two total from that facility, with state data showing five active cases there. All but 26 of the 80 total COVID-19 deaths have stemmed from local congregate care facilities.

Of the 420 total reported cases at congregate care facilities, county data show 178 cases are active across seven local facilities, while state data show 190 active cases among those facilities. County and state data numbers can differ if there’s a lag in reported data, and the county data hub only includes cases among Rowan County residents.

State data show outbreaks include 81 cases and six deaths at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, 51 cases and five deaths at Autumn Care, 41 cases and five deaths at Accordius Health, three cases at the Rowan County Jail Annex and two cases at Compass Health of Spencer.

The Citadel, also experiencing a second outbreak, currently has seven cases.

A cluster of five cases remains at North Hills Christian School, along with a cluster of 10 cases at St. Peters Lutheran Church Preschool.

Also on Tuesday, Canaan Baptist Church, located at 785 Barringer St., near Granite Quarry, confirmed that about 20 of its members have tested positive. The first notification about a positive case came about two weeks ago. Pastor Bruce Graham has since suspended in-person services, which are now being streamed online on Facebook Live.

Graham said his family and about five additional people have attended the church and assisted with streaming the online services. The church can hold more than 400 people, but the church had averaged about 100 people in attendance since reopening in-person services on May 17. He added that members have been practicing social distancing. Wearing masks was optional.

The church added that it’s unaware of how the positive members contracted the virus.

“Our faith remains strong as a body of believers, trusting that God will heal and touch his people,” the church said in a statement.

County spokesperson TJ Brown said investigations have only tied one positive case to the church so far, but investigations are ongoing.

Overall, an additional 20 people tested positive Tuesday, bringing the county’s total to 2,951. Of those, 446 are currently positive and 2,425 people have recovered. A total of 16 people are being hospitalized in the county for COVID-19.

Statewide, a total of 178,635 people have tested positive after 2.47 million completed tests. State health officials estimate that 156,652 people across the state are presumed to be recovered, which amounts to a 87.7% recovery rate.

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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