Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Published 12:18 am Monday, September 28, 2020

SALISBURY — Data maintained by Rowan County government on Sunday counted Piedmont Correctional Institution the site of a COVID-19 outbreak and listed more than two dozen cases at the facility.

The cases include 24 inmates and two employees, according to local data. Among the eight local outbreaks — two or more lab-confirmed cases in a congregate living setting — the prison is the only one that’s not a nursing home or residential care facility.

State data, though, appears to conflict with Sunday’s local update and does not reflect a significant rise in active cases from the seven it described to the Post last week. The N.C. Department of Public Safety maintains a website for COVID-19 positives at prisons, saying numbers are updated daily at 3 p.m. But the number for Piedmont on Sunday evening was 49 total cases, including positives from previous months. On Wednesday, when prison officials said there were seven active cases, the same number was 48.

Piedmont Correctional is a designated intake facility where new offenders from county jails are processed to begin their prison sentences. Last week, N.C. Department of Public Safety spokesman John Bull said three inmates who were transferred into the facility were placed in medical isolation. It wasn’t clear Sunday how the outbreak had grown from the seven active cases last week.

Piedmont’s medical isolation and medical quarantine protocols include that offenders who test positive are moved into medical isolation and their housing units are placed under quarantine for close observation and twice daily temperature checks, Bull said.

The addition of Piedmont Correctional to the list of COVID-19 outbreaks on Sunday came as there were little or no changes in other virus-related data for the community. There have been 3,329 COVID-19 positives in Rowan, an increase of 17 from the day prior, and 100 deaths, unchanged from one day earlier. On Sunday, there were 18 people hospitalized and 378 cases considered currently active.

Rowan County remains among the top five counties in the state for deaths.

Rowan also has more total and active COVID-19 cases than all neighboring counties but Cabarrus, according to data from local health departments. The Cabarrus Health Alliance says there are 4,003 total cases, 464 active cases, 19 people hospitalized and 71 deaths in Cabarrus County.

Local testing locations for COVID-19 are as follows this week:

West End Plaza
1935 W Jake Alexander Blvd, Salisbury
Monday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Testing is free and open to the public 

Spencer Community Testing – Park Plaza
400 N Salisbury Ave. Spencer
Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Testing is free and open to the public

1924 Statesville Blvd, Salisbury
Must schedule appointment online 

Novant Health Rowan
1904 Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury
Call 704-210-7845 for an appointment
Testing criteria may apply