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County moves up to fourth in state for COVID-19 deaths

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Two additional COVID-19 deaths among residents not associated with a local congregate care facility were reported to the county on Wednesday.

Those additions mean Rowan County is now tied with Forsyth County for fourth in the state based on its total number of reported deaths, according to state data. Only Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties are reporting more deaths.

All but 35 of the 103 total deaths reported to Rowan County have been from local nursing homes and residential care facilities. The average age among the deaths remains at 80.

County and state data on outbreaks and clusters currently show 42 cases and 10 deaths at Liberty Commons; 43 cases and seven deaths at Accordius Health; 54 cases and seven deaths at Autumn Care; 91 cases and eight deaths at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab; four cases at Compass Health; eight cases at the Citadel; and two cases at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center.

County data also show 29 cases at Piedmont Correctional Institution. A spokesperson from North Carolina Department of Public Safety said on Monday that 20 inmates currently have active cases of COVID-19 and 10 staff members are out of work.

Additionally, the latest state data show a cluster of 11 cases at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Preschool. Clusters are removed from the state’s list of active outbreaks and clusters once 28 consecutive days have passed since a positive case reported. The cluster at the school was first reported on Sept. 1.

A total of 3,387 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county since the start of the pandemic, with 333, or about 10%, of those currently active. The county has seen an 87% recovery rate as 2,951 recoveries have been reported.

Additionally, 20 people are being hospitalized. A total of 226 locals have been hospitalized since March, amounting to an average age of 64.

Across the state, 210,632 people have tested positive after 3.03 million completed tests, for a percent positive testing rate of 6.5%. A total of 956 people are being hospitalized and 3,532 people have died.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced North Carolina can move into Phase 3 on Friday at 5 p.m. since the state’s metrics have remained stable throughout September.

“Our top priority remains getting children back to in-person learning. This month marks a major shift for many families now and in the coming months as schools open their doors, some for the first time since the pandemic,” Cooper said. “The virus continues to spread, so we must take the next steps methodically, and responsibly.”

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said on Wednesday that the state’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases have leveled, along with the percent of tests returning positive and the state’s trajectory of hospitalizations.

The average age among all positive cases in Rowan County is 43.8, with those aged 18-35 comprising the plurality of cases at 981. Current demographic data show 59% of all cases have been among white residents, 15% have been among Black residents and 27% have been among Hispanic residents.

Zip codes 28147 and 28144 remain the areas with the most reported cases, at 915 and 735, respectively.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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