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Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

SALISBURY — Rowan County hit a grim milestone on Saturday, as more than 100 COVID-19 deaths have been reported here.

That total has been propelled by the worst month yet for deaths reported, with September bringing 33 deaths. April, with 21 deaths reported, is the second-deadliest month. While the date deaths are reported isn’t necessarily the same as the date of death, county officials say the two are usually within a few days, or a maximum of one week, between each other.

The deadly September keeps Rowan ranked fifth in the state, with only the larger population counties of Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford and Forsyth with more deaths. All of those have fewer deaths per capita than Rowan County, which has one COVID-19 death for every 1,421 residents.

A majority of local deaths — 77 of 100 — have come at local nursing homes. There have been 33 deaths outside of nursing homes, with the average age of the dead being 80.

The total of 100 deaths includes three added Saturday — one at Autumn Care on Bringle Ferry Road, one at Liberty Commons on South Main Street and one outside of a nursing home. Nine have now died at Liberty Commons after testing positive and seven at Autumn Care.

The increasing spate of deaths among people positive for COVID-19 comes even as daily increases in cases have declined somewhat from their peak in early September. The 14-day average of cases, a number the state has used to determine whether to lift restrictions, stood at slightly more than 20 on Saturday after the county added 24 new cases.

Rowan County ended last week with 367 or 11.08% of its total cases being currently positive. There have been 40,647 tests conducted in Rowan County, and 3,312 positive results.

Local hospitals, including the Salisbury VA and Rowan Medical Center, remain below capacity, according to data updated weekly. There are 103 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients and 44 currently being used for COVID-19 patients. Of the 61 ventilators available, just two are being used.

The average age of people testing positive in Rowan County is 43.7, while the average age of those hospitalized is 63.

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