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COVID-19 deaths in Rowan County reach 122

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County health officials on Thursday reported a COVID-19 death of someone not associated with a local congregate care facility.

That marks the 122nd death from COVID-19 in the county, and the 46th among the local community outside of congregate care facilities. The average age among the deaths remains at 80.

Additionally, the county’s rate of tests returning positive continues to steadily decline and is now at 7.47%. After conducting 58,436 total tests in the county, 54,071 of those have returned negative. The rate of tests returning positive has steadily declined since late September when the rate was 8%.

The county’s daily hospitalization update shows 19 Rowan residents are currently being hospitalized. A weekly update of hospital beds and ventilators usage provided Thursday shows 44 of the 106 hospital beds are currently in use along with two of the 61 available ventilators. That weekly data is provided by local hospitals and can include patients outside of the county.

Outbreaks continue to remain at nine local congregate care facilities, including Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, Liberty Commons, N.C. State Veterans Home, the Elmcroft of Salisbury, The Meadows of Rockwell, the Laurels, Brightmoor Nursing Center, Accordius Health and the Piedmont Correctional Institute.

Additionally, an active cluster remains at Rockwell Christian School.

Also on Thursday, county health officials conducted a “data sweep,” which involves the review of COVID-19 data and redirecting cases to other counties once it’s discovered those positive cases aren’t among Rowan Countians. TJ Brown, the county’s emergency management division chief, said 14 cases have been redirected to other counties.

That sweep along with Thursday’s case increase amounts to a total of 4,365 cases reported since March, with approximately 13% of those cases currently active. Approximately 84% of total cases have recovered, and the average age among cases is 43.9.

State health officials reported 2,859 additional cases on Thursday, totaling 285,661 cases since March. And after conducting 4.21 million tests, the rate of tests returning positive is 6.6%. Health experts recommend that rate be no more than 5%.

A total of 1,193 people are currently being hospitalized across the state, and 4,538 people have died.

State health officials also report that by the end of last week, the number of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness decreased, while the percent of people seen in the emergency department who had to stay in the hospital increased.

However, the total number of people admitted to hospitals in the Public Health Epidemiologist Network decreased, along with the percentage admitted to the ICU.

Health officials also report that the southeastern region of the U.S. showed an increase in COVID-19 cases by the end of last week.

Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen held a news conference Thursday to update North Carolinians on the state of the outbreak. Cooper said cases remain high but hospitals are not currently overloaded.

The latest state data show 1,001 of the 2,453 available ventilators are currently in use, along with 1,897 ICU beds and 15,718 inpatient hospital beds.

The U.S. reached a grim benchmark this week when at least 100,000 cases were reported in a single day. The latest data from the CDC show that after reporting 106,537 additional COVID-19 cases, a total of 9.46 million have been reported to date. More than 629,000 of those cases have been reported within the last seven days.

Additionally, the CDC reported 1,141 new COVID-19 deaths, now totaling 233,129 deaths across the nation since January.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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