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County health officials report four new COVID-19 deaths

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County health officials on Thursday reported four additional COVID-19 deaths, including three from two local nursing homes.

One death was someone not associated with a congregate care facility. Two of the deaths were reported from Liberty Commons, which has now seen eight total deaths and 30 cases, according to county data. The final death was reported from Autumn Care, which has now had six deaths and 52 cases.

Rowan County remains within the top five counties with the most reported COVID-19 deaths. And a majority of local deaths, all but 32 of the total 97, have been at local nursing homes or congregate care facilities.

County data show other active outbreaks include 41 cases and seven deaths at Accordius Health; 82 cases and eight deaths at Trinity Oaks; six cases at the Citadel; four cases at Compass Health and two cases at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center. The average age among all deaths remains at 80.

The county data hub shows a cluster of 10 cases remains at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Clusters at school settings are removed from the state’s biweekly report once 28 consecutive days have passed since the latest positive case.

County health officials on Thursday only added nine new cases to the reported total, breaking a long trend of double-digit increases.

There have now been 3,257 positive cases since March. Of those, 350 are currently positive and 2,810 have recovered. Hospitalizations improved on Thursday and are currently at 14.

Across the state, 198,189 cases have been reported positive after 2.87 million completed tests. Of those, 902 are currently being hospitalized and 3,356 people have died.

State health officials have announced that North Carolina Medicaid beneficiaries on the “NC Innovations Waiver” who are attending school virtually amidst the pandemic can now receive waiver support during remote learning.

“The pandemic is challenging enough. We need to ensure that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the assistance to successfully participate in remote learning,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen in a statement.

The waiver approval is through an Appendix K, which allows states to submit requests to ease certain waiver requirements during federally declared emergencies. The modification is effective Aug. 17 to March 13, 2021.

Previous Appendix K flexibilities added home delivered meals as a service, allowed for retainer payments for direct care providers, allowed for family members of children and adults to provide services with some provider requirements waived. and allowed for service maximums and the waiver limit to be exceeded in addition to other flexibilities.

Health officials also said the new app, SlowCOVIDNC, which alerts North Carolinians when they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, has seen more than 50,000 downloads since the app’s launch on Tuesday.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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