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County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County ended the week with 11% of its total cases currently positive, and a percent positive rate of 8.02%.

The percent positive rate is updated weekly and gauges how many tests return as positives. The rate has declined steadily over the last few weeks.

As of Friday, 40,623 tests have been reported, with 37,335 of those negative.

Deaths remain at 97. Of the six reported this week, two of those deaths were people not associated with a local congregate care facility, while one was reported at Accordius Health, one from Autumn Care and two from Liberty Commons. All but 32 of the total deaths have been among local congregate care facilities. The average age for the deaths remains 80.

Rowan County remains fifth in the state for the total number of COVID-19 deaths reported behind Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

On Friday, state health officials updated the count of outbreaks and clusters among congregate care facilities and school settings across the state. The latest state data show 43 cases and seven deaths at Accordius Health, 54 cases and six deaths at Autumn Care, 32 cases and seven deaths at Liberty Commons, 90 cases and eight deaths at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, seven cases at the Citadel, four cases at Compass Health and two cases at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center.

However, county data show a total of eight deaths at Liberty Commons. County spokesperson TJ Brown said the county includes deaths reported in previous outbreaks.

State data also show a cluster of 11 cases at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Preschool.

A total of 3,288 Rowan County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 357, or 11%, of those currently positive. Cabarrus has had 3,930 total COVID-19 cases, with 393, or 10%, of its cases currently active.

As of Friday, a total of 204,331 cases have been confirmed across the state after 2.9 million completed tests, for a rate of 5.2%. Currently, 903 people are being hospitalized and 3,409 people have died.

State health officials announced on Friday that additional benefits will be provided through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program to help families purchase food for children whose access to free and reduced-price meals at school has been impacted by remote learning. Children are eligible if they had access to free or reduced-price meals at school last year, attend a school within a district that is eligible to provide free and reduced-price meals this year and if their school district or charter school used remote learning for all students for at least five consecutive school days between Aug. 17 and Sept. 30.

Also on Friday, state health officials added antigen-positive cases and deaths and the number of antigen tests completed to its state data. While the CDC requires states report molecular, or PCR, cases and antigen-positive cases separately, any positives mean that person has or had COVID-19.

Molecular and antigen tests are used to diagnose COVID-19. Molecular tests looks for  genetic material of the virus and are processed in a lab, while antigen tests look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus and are processed at the point of care, such as a health care provider’s office.

Another difference between the two tests is that molecular-positive cases are considered “confirmed” cases, while antigen-positive cases are classified as “probable” cases. Those terms are used nationally to standardize case classifications for public health surveillance.

According to state data, 4,563 tests have been reported antigen-positive, which accounts for 2% of all cases in the state. Additionally, 25 of the total deaths in the state were from antigen-positive cases.

A total of 15 Rowan County residents are currently being hospitalized, and 2,834 have recovered from COVID-19 in total.

County health officials update the number of hospital beds and ventilators being used by anyone seeking care in the county once each week. Those numbers are reported by local hospitals. As of Friday, 44 of the 103 total hospital beds and two of the 61 available ventilators are being used.

The average age among all cases remains 43.6, with those aged 18-35 comprising the plurality of cases at 960.

Demographic data show 57% of all cases have been among white residents, 27% among Hispanic residents and 14% among Black residents.

Zip codes 28147 and 28144 remain the areas with the highest number of reported cases, with 884 cases and 715 cases reported, respectively.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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