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County reports two new COVID-19 deaths, two weeks of 50-case daily increases

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County health officials on Tuesday reported two additional COVID-19 deaths as the county reached 14 consecutive days with at least 50 cases reported each day.

Those deaths bring the total to 133. One of those was from Autumn Care, which reports a total of eight deaths. The other was someone not associated with a congregate care facility.

Though local congregate care facilities make up the majority of COVID-19 deaths in the county, deaths among community members outside of such settings has steadily increased in recent weeks and are now at 52. The average age among all deaths is 80.

After adding 64 cases on Tuesday, the county now reports 5,746 total cases since March, with 1,046, or 18.2%, of those active and 4,567 recovered.

Local health officials also report that 25 Rowan Countians are currently being hospitalized for COVID-19.

State data show that Rowan County currently has outbreaks at eight local congregate care facilities, including Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, the Laurels, the Citadel, Autumn Care, Accordius Health, Compass Assisted Living, the Meadows of Rockwell Retirement Center and the Piedmont Correctional Institute.

However, the state declared the end of an outbreak at N.C. State Veterans Home, which finished its second outbreak with four positive staff members and one positive resident. While the number of positive cases listed on the county’s data hub or on the state’s list of outbreaks may not show how many cases are active at a facility, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety updates its data daily. Tuesday’s update showed there are currently 60 active cases at the Piedmont Correctional Institute.

Outbreaks are declared over once 28 consecutive days have passed since the onset of symptoms in the last symptomatic person or since the last positive test, whichever is later.

The state also reports no active clusters of cases in child care and school settings in Rowan County.

A weekly update of clusters throughout the state, however, shows that cases associated with clusters in religious gatherings have remained steady over the past four weeks. Additionally, cases associated with clusters in government services workplaces have continued steadily since the beginning of September. To date, the state reports there have been 121 clusters, 1,618 cases and 27 deaths tied to religious gatherings, along with 67 clusters, 509 cases and three deaths connected to government services workplaces.

Data also show there have been 200 clusters, 2,642 cases and no deaths associated with colleges and universities, but 72 clusters, 544 cases and three deaths associated with child care settings.

State health officials reported 2,883 additional cases across North Carolina on Tuesday, with a daily percent positive rate of 10.2%. That amounts to 367,395 cases since March after 5.23 million completed tests, for an overall positive rate of 6.9%.

A total of 5,284 North Carolinians have died of COVID-19, while 2,033 are currently being hospitalized. State data show 206 of those patients were admitted within the last 24 hours.

State data also show that the average turnaround time for COVID-19 tests over the last 32 days is nearly three days, at 2.8. That time is calculated by adding together the average number of days from specimen collected to the lab result as well as the average number of days from when the result is received to when it’s electronically reported to the state.

Health officials continue to urge testing for anyone who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or anyone experiencing symptoms of the virus. This week, locals can be tested at the following locations:

• Rowan County Health Department, 1811 E Innes St., Salisbury
Monday, Nov. 30 – Thursday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 4, from 8:30 am -11:30 am
Testing is free and open to the public.  

• FastMed Clinic, 1361 Klumac Road, Salisbury
Insurance will be billed. For non-insured individuals, the cost is $199 for both COVID-19 and antibody testing. No appointment needed.

• CVS, 1924 Statesville Blvd., Salisbury
Must schedule appointment online at https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-assessment  

• Novant Health Rowan, 1904 W Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury
Call 704-210-7845 for an appointment. Testing criteria may apply.  

• W. G. Hefner VA Medical Center, 1601 Brenner Ave., Salisbury
Testing criteria may apply. Only veterans are tested.

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