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Gov. Cooper lowers gathering limit; Rowan County reports another COVID-19 death

Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday lowered the state’s indoor and outdoor gathering limits and extended other aspects of phase three of reopening.

The order lowers the indoor gathering limit from 25 people to 10. It aims to slow the spread of COVID-19 as weather gets colder and people to move gatherings indoors, where there’s an increased risk of transmission, a news release said. Outdoor gathering limits remain unchanged — 50 people — as well as other aspects of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The indoor gathering limit reduction takes effect Friday at 5 p.m. and remains in effect until Dec. 4.

“This reduction in our indoor gathering limit aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “It also sends a serious signal to families, friends and neighbors across our state. Success in slowing the spread will help our businesses.”

Cooper’s announcement came as the trajectory of confirmed COVID-19 cases is increasing along with the percentage of tests returning positive. The trajectory of hospitalizations remains level. There were 297,442 COVID-19 cases in the state on Tuesday after the state saw an increase of 2,582 cases. There are 1,230 people currently hospitalized in the state and 4,660 dead.

Rowan County, meanwhile, added coronavirus death No. 123 to its total on Tuesday as local cases also continued to rise.

The additional death, the first reported in five days, occurred outside of a congregate living facility, where most coronavirus deaths have occurred in Rowan County. No further information about the death was provided Tuesday.

The average age of deaths is 80. Only Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties have more deaths.

The total number of cases in Rowan is 4,544 — a number that increased by 36 from Monday. The number of active cases is 598, which reflects 3,823 recoveries. The average age of those testing positive is 44.2.

Currently, 27 Rowan County residents are hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

The number of congregate living outbreaks is near a peak, with 10 currently considered active. The active outbreaks, according to the Rowan County Health Department, include Accordius Health, Brightmoor, Liberty Commons, N.C. Veterans Home, the Citadel, the Laurels, Trinity Oaks Skilled Nursing, Elmcroft, Meadows of Rockwell and Piedmont Correctional Institute. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday also included Compass Assisted Living Rowan.

The largest active outbreak remains Trinity Oaks Skilled Nursing, which has recovered a total of 91 cases. Among congregate living facilities, Liberty Commons (65), Accordius Health (46) and Elmcroft (40) also have recorded dozens of cases. But outbreaks can remain active even after congregate living facility residents are considered recovered. To be declared over, there must be 28 days from the latest date of onset of a symptomatic person or the same amount of time from specimen collection from an asymptomatic person, whichever is later.

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