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County ends week with two COVID-19 deaths, two new outbreaks as 12% of cases remain active

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County data show that more than 100, or about 12%, of currently active COVID-19 cases are among Black and Hispanic Rowan Countians and nearly half are among those between the ages of 18 and 50.

Rowan County reports 4,427 cases since March, with an average age of 44 among them. This week’s update of tests returning positive show that 7.47% of at least 58,498 tests have returned positive — a number that’s steadily declined since September.

A total of 541, or 12%, of the total cases are currently positive. Of those, 56 are among Black residents, 59 are among Hispanic residents, three are among American Indian/Alaskan Native residents, one is among a Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 255 are white, 37 are other and 189 are unknown.

The plurality of currently positive cases, or 47%, are among those aged 18-50. More than 150 of those are aged 65 or older.

The county ended the week with two deaths and two new congregate care facility outbreaks.

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. The average age among the deaths remains 80.

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.

New outbreaks emerged this week at the Laurels of Salisbury, a nursing home located at 215 Lash Drive, and 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.

Other outbreaks include Accordius Health, Brightmoor Nursing Center, the Citadel, N.C. State Veterans Home, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, Elmcroft of Salisbury and Piedmont Correctional Institute.

Additionally, a cluster of cases is currently active at Rockwell Christian School.

A total of 22 Rowan Countians are currently being hospitalized for COVID-19. Additionally, 44 of the 106 hospital beds and two of the 61 available ventilators are currently in use across the county.

After adding 2,676 new cases on Saturday, North Carolina has now reported 291,245 cases since March, which amounts to 6.9% of the 4.31 million reported tests. The state’s rate of tests returning positive has fluctuated this week, but remains above the recommended rate of 5%.

A total of 4,605 people have died, 1,196 people are currently hospitalized.

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.

Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials told North Carolinians this week that cases remain high. But though the percent of emergency visits for COVID-19 and hospitalizations are decreasing and leveling, respectively, they urged North Carolinians to continue following the three Ws as the holidays approach.

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.

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.

North Carolina currently ranks 32nd in the nation for most cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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