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UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — State data on Friday showed that a COVID-19 outbreak among three employees at the Rowan County Jail Annex is over, but a new outbreak emerged at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center.

The state’s biweekly outbreak report shows a new outbreak of two cases at the facility, which is located in Kannapolis.

Rowan County also saw 10 deaths this week, with seven of the deaths among local congregate care facilities. That brings the total of COVID-19 related deaths in the county to 91, with 80 being the average age among them.

Cases continue to emerge at local congregate care facilities. While county data show Liberty Commons has now seen six deaths and 22 cases at the facility, state data show Liberty Commons has had five deaths and 24 cases. State data also show eight deaths and 89 cases at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, five deaths and 54 cases at Autumn Care, seven deaths and 43 cases at Accordius Health, eight cases at the Citadel and four cases at Compass Health in Spencer.

The state’s biweekly report of clusters within school settings shows a cluster of 11 cases at St. Peters Lutheran Church Preschool. Additionally, North Hills Christian School told the Post a cluster of five cases reported before the semester have now recovered, which is reflected in the cluster being reported over on state and local data. Clusters and outbreaks are removed after the facility has undergone at least 28 consecutive days without a positive case.

Cases at Kannapolis brewery

Additionally, Cabarrus County health officials are recommending everyone who visited Old Armor Beer Company in Kannapolis within the previous two weeks monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and consider being tested after eight cases have been linked to the facility.

Old Armor Beer Company is located downtown on West Avenue. The Cabarrus Health Alliance said it has a duty to make the public aware that eight cases have been linked to the facility.

“The complicated thing about COVID-19 is that people may have no idea they are positive for days before any symptoms appear. With eight confirmed cases within a 14-day window that all identified attending the brewery, public health officials have the responsibility to make the community aware,” said Dr. Bonnie Coyle, Cabarrus County public health director, in a news release.

Kyle Lingafelt, one of the co-owners of the brewery, told the Post on Friday that he has been in contact with Cabarrus County health officials. And while they have told him they can’t definitively confirm the cases are linked to the brewery, hearing they may be linked is still “a little troubling for us.”

Lingafelt said the brewery is aware of one positive case among its employees. The employee’s case was confirmed at the end of last week, but she hasn’t been at the brewery since Sept. 6, he said.

And while not all employees have been tested, Lingafelt said those who worked with her or came into close contact with her are self-quarantining. He added that the husband of the employee who tested positive received a negative test result.

Lingafelt said the brewery has undergone three deep cleaning sessions within the past two weeks and that masks are being worn. He added that the brewery has ordered more face masks and is looking into ways to further incentivize and encourage customers to wear their masks as it’s “difficult to constantly monitor people’s behaviors.”

Additionally, Lingafelt said employees’ temperatures are checked daily and social distancing is urged. And while 50% capacity for the brewery is about 150 people, they’re only allowing a maximum of 90 people to be seated there.

“We’re trying to do the right thing. It’s just the nature of the beast,” he said, referring to the virus.

Anyone who exhibits fever, cough and shortness of breath, which may develop up to 14 days after exposure, should self-isolate and contact their primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call the CHA Health Information Line at 704-920-1213. Information regarding COVID-19 testing sites and resources is available at www.cabarrushealth.org/communitytesting and rowancountync.gov/1590/Testing-Information.

The Cabarrus Health Alliance reports 377 active cases in Cabarrus County.

Other data

Across the state, 192,248 people have been confirmed to have the virus after 2.77 million completed tests. Additionally, 882 people are being hospitalized and 3,235 people have died.

A total of 3,171 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Rowan County, with 365 of those cases currently active. A total of 2,715 people have recovered, and the county’s rate of tests returning positive is 8.26%.

A weekly update from local hospitals shows 44 of the 103 available beds are currently being used, along with seven of the 61 available ventilators. Those numbers include people outside of Rowan County who seek care here.

Hospitalizations among Rowan County residents, which is updated daily, shows a current total of 17. Of the 210 residents who have been hospitalized since March, the average age among them is 63.

The average age of all cases is 43.6, with a plurality of cases among those aged 18-35, at 941. A little more than 57% of all cases have been among white residents, while 14% and 28% are among Black and Hispanic residents, respectively. More than half of all cases are among women.

Of the 365 currently active cases, 167 are among white residents, 40 are among Black residents, 27 are among Hispanic residents, four are among American Indian/Alaskan Native residents and one is among an Asian resident. However, 130 are considered unknown at this time.

Additionally, the plurality of currently active cases is among those aged older than 65 years old. The next highest age bracket includes 89 cases among those aged 18-35.

Of the 91 total deaths, 63 have been among white residents, while 13 are among Black residents and three are among Hispanic residents. A total of 81 of those deaths have been among residents aged 65 and older.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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