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Rowan County ending week with two new COVID-19 deaths, two new congregate outbreaks

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The county is ending election week with two additional COVID-19 deaths and two new congregate care facililty outbreaks as cases continue to surge in the state and the U.S.

One of those deaths come from Liberty Commons, which reports 15 total deaths since its first outbreak. The other death marked the 46th among someone not associated with a congregate care facility. With deaths now totaling 122, that puts the county sixth in the state for most reported deaths. Ahead of Rowan are Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

The average age among the deaths remains at 80.

New outbreaks emerged in Rowan County this week as well, including the Laurels of Salisbury, a nursing home located at 215 Lash Drive, as well as The Meadows of Rockwell Retirement Center, located at 612 China Grove Highway in Rockwell. The latest state data show six positive staff members at The Laurels, and six positive residents at The Meadows of Rockwell.

The county now reports 10 total active outbreaks among congregate care facilities. Other facilities still with active outbreak include Elmcroft of Salisbury, Accordius Health, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, Brightmoor Nursing Center, Liberty Commons, N.C. State Veterans Home, the Citadel and the Piedmont Correctional Institute. The latest data from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety shows three active cases at the correctional institute.

Additionally, a cluster of cases at Rockwell Christian School is still officially considered active.

State data show 223 nursing homes, 118 residential care facilities and 52 correctional facilities currently report active outbreaks. That includes 15,296 cases and 1,796 deaths among nursing homes, 5,860 cases and 483 deaths among residential care facilities and 6,336 and 50 deaths among correctional facilities.

Additionally, the state reports 15 clusters in child care settings and 36 clusters in K-12 schools. Of those, three deaths have occurred in child care settings.

As of Friday, 20 Rowan County residents are being hospitalized for COVID-19.

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen told North Carolinians that cases are still high across the state. However, the percent of emergency visits for COVID-like illness is decreasing, as the rate of tests returning positive and hospitalizations are leveling. Cooper urged North Carolinians to follow the three Ws and bring down the overall case count, especially as the holiday season approaches.

The state reported 2,908 additional COVID-19 cases on Friday, totaling 288,569 cases since March. And with more than 4.26 million tests conducted, the rate of tests returning positive is 6.9%.

The state’s percent positive rate of cases continues to fluctuate but remains above the recommended rate of 5%. By contrast, the county’s rate of tests returning positive slightly decreased this week to 7.47% after at least 58,461 tests were reported.

As of Friday, 4,390 cases have been reported in Rowan County since March, putting it 18th in the state for most positive cases. County health officials added an average of 32 new cases this week.

Of those, about 12%, or 548 cases, are currently active, and 3,720 have recovered.

The plurality of cases, about 28%, are among those aged 18-35.

State data show that Black North Carolinians have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 as they comprise 23% of the state’s total case count. Hispanic North Carolinians make up 29% of all cases.

Black North Carolinians also make up 29% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 9% of deaths have been reported among Hispanic North Carolinians.

A total of 1,161 North Carolinians are currently being hospitalized, while 4,582 people have died.

State data show that of the 164 newly admitted patients as of Tuesday, 28% are among Black North Carolinians, and 7% are among Hispanic North Carolinians. A quarter of those newly admitted patients are between the ages of 60-69, while 40% are among those aged 70 and older. More than half, or 52%, are women.

Across the nation, cases are on the rise, including the southeastern region. The CDC reported 117,988 new cases, totaling 9.58 million cases since January. And after 1,135 new COVID-19 deaths, 234,264 Americans have now died from the virus.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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