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UPDATED: State reports 20 COVID-19 cases at Rockwell Christian School, outbreak at Brightmoor Nursing Center

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — State health officials on Friday reported a cluster of 20 COVID-19 cases at Rockwell Christian School and a new outbreak of two cases at Brightmoor Nursing Center as cases continue to rise across the state and nation.

Data show Rockwell Christian School, located at 401 Depot St. in Rockwell, currently has five positive staff members and 15 positive students. A cluster is declared in a school setting if at least five positive cases are reported. Rockwell Christian is a non-denominational, co-educational school that serves elementary, middle and high school that serves a total of 276 students and has 37 staff members.

Brightmoor Nursing Center is located at 610 W. Fisher St., and the two positive cases are among staff members. An outbreak is considered two or more cases in a congregate care facility.

Rowan County reported no additional deaths Friday or Saturday, but reported four last week, with two of those reported at Elmcroft of Salisbury, which is currently in its second outbreak. The first outbreak occurred in late June and only included two positive staff members before being declared over on Aug. 2. That amounts to 120 deaths reported since March, with all but 45 reported among seven local congregate care facilities. The average age among the deaths remains at 80.

Rowan is currently sixth in the state for most COVID-19 deaths. Counties ahead of Rowan include Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake.

State data show an additional four congregate care facilities currently have outbreaks, including Accordius Health, Liberty Commons, N.C. State Veterans Home and Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab.

Additionally, eight cases are currently active at Piedmont Correctional Institute as of Saturday, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

The county added an average of 27 cases to the data hub this week, with 4,196 total cases as of Saturday. County health officials report 55,327 tests completed, with 7.58% of those positive. Those statistics put Rowan County 17th in the state for most cases per 10,000 residents.

Currently, 497, or 12% of local residents, are considered active, while 3,533 have recovered.

Hospitalizations in Rowan County improved and are now at 13. A total of 253 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county, with an average age of 64.

The county’s weekly update of hospital bed and ventilator usage showed 41 of the 106 beds and one of the 61 ventilators are currently in use, which is a slight improvement from one week prior.

Additionally, county data show the plurality, or 29%, of reported cases have been among those aged 18-35. The average age among all positive cases is 43.7.

State health officials have added 16,343 cases to its total case count since last Friday, Oct. 23. North Carolina now has 274,635 reported cases, with 4,378 reported deaths.

The rate of tests returning positive across the state has only slightly improved from one week ago and is now at 6.2% after 3.99 million tests have been completed.

The state averaged 1,184 daily hospitalizations last week and, as of Saturday, the same number were currently hospitalized.

Additionally, this week’s state data show Black North Carolinians continue to be hospitalized at a disproportionate rate for COVID-19 as they comprise 28% of the newly admitted patients reported last week. More than 30% of those hospitalizations are among those aged 70-79, and 6% of those hospitalizations are among Hispanic North Carolinians. More than half, or 55%, of those are among men.

The state’s weekly update of key metrics show emergency department visits for COVID-like illness decreased last week. However, the percentage of patients admitted to the ICU increased, as well as the total number of patients admitted to hospitals in the Public Health Epidemiologist Network.

National data also show North Carolina currently ranks 10th among states for most reported cases within the previous seven days.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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