Rate of COVID-19 tests returning positive drops below 8%

Published 7:56 pm Thursday, October 1, 2020

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — The rate of COVID-19 tests returning positive in Rowan County is now at 7.91%, according to data from the Health Department.

That number is updated once a week, and is currently the lowest rate reported. Of the 43,477 total tests reported to the county, 40,039 of those have returned negative.

On Wednesday, Rowan County was tied with Forsyth for ranking fourth in the state for total number of COVID-19 deaths. But on Thursday, state data showed Rowan moved back to fifth in the state, with all four counties ahead of it containing a larger population.

Hospitalizations in Rowan County improved and are now at 19. Of the 3,438 total number of COVID-19 cases, 371 are currently positive and 2,964 have recovered. Deaths remain at 103, with all but 35 among local congregate care facilities.

County health officials on Thursday also updated the number of hospital beds and ventilators being used by anyone seeking care in the county. Those numbers are reported by local hospitals and added to county data once a week. Currently, 67 of the 103 total hospital beds and two of the 61 available ventilators are being used.

North Carolina’s current rate of tests returning positive is at 5.7%, as 212,909 cases have been confirmed after 3.06 million tests. A total of 939 people are being hospitalized, which was 17 fewer patients than one day earlier.

A total of 3,579 people have died from COVID-19 across the state. The latest data show COVID-19 deaths have disproportionately impacted Black North Carolinians. Though they only make up 22% of the state’s overall population, they make up 30% of all COVID-19 deaths across the state.

And though Hispanics comprise just 9% of the state’s overall population, they make up 33% of the state’s positive cases. They also comprise 9% of the total deaths reported across the state.

More than half of the deaths across the state, or 58%, have been among those aged older than 75. The plurality of positive cases, however, have been among those aged 25-49, at 41%.

State health officials announced on Thursday that they have partnered with United Providers of Health to address unmet health care needs of historically marginalized communities. The effort is intended to help individuals maintain better health while also reducing the burden on hospitals across the state. The $7 million statewide effort will provide preventative health care services and connections to mental health support.

The effort will also help to address non-medical drivers of health, or what’s known as the social determinants of health, such as food and housing needs. More specifically, the partnership will offer counseling to those dealing with financial uncertainty posed by potential eviction or termination of utilities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected historically marginalized communities, highlighting long-standing disparities in access to quality health care,” said Kody H. Kinsley, deputy secretary for Behavioral Health and IDD. “By partnering with providers in these communities and tying in complementary initiatives already underway, we are enabling access to cost-effective care and addressing barriers to whole-person wellness.”

The latest county data show an outbreak of 52 cases and seven deaths at Autumn Care; 41 cases and seven deaths at Accordius Health; 83 cases and eight deaths at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab; 41 cases and 10 deaths at Liberty Commons; 51 cases at the Piedmont Correctional Institution; six cases at the Citadel; four cases at Compass Health and two cases at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center in Kannapolis.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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