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Two additional COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan County

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County health officials reported two additional COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.

One of those deaths was someone outside of a local congregate care facility. The other was at The Laurels, which has reported three deaths. The Laurels is among the local facilities with current outbreaks.

The total is now 152 deaths, with 62 reported outside of such facilities. The average age among the deaths remains 80.

The county reported 80 additional cases on Tuesday, which totals 7,134 cases since March, with 24.5% of those currently active and 5,231 recovered. The plurality, or 27.6%, are among those aged 18-35.

A total of 18 Rowan Countians are currently being hospitalized for COVID-19.

Those statistics put Rowan County 20th in the state for most cases and fifth for most reported deaths.

A biweekly update from state health officials show there are currently 12 facilities with active outbreaks: Accordius Health, Autumn Care of Salisbury, Brightmoor Nursing Center, the Citadel, the Laurels, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, Trinity Oaks Retirement, Compass Assisted, The Meadows of Rockwell, N.C. State Veterans Home, Bethamy Retirement Center and the Piedmont Correctional Institute.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 5,236 additional cases, totaling 446,601 cases since March after 6.07 million tests. While Tuesday’s daily percent positive rate is 10.9%, the overall rate is 7.4%.

Of those, state health officials presume 365,273, or 81.8%, of all cases have recovered.

A total of 2,735 people are currently being hospitalized, and 5,881 have died. In a news conference on Tuesday, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said hospitalizations across the state are particularly concerning as they’ve nearly doubled since a month ago on Nov. 15.

But Cohen added that while hospital capacity is not currently an issue, the state health department continues to monitor that issue daily.

The state received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine around 7 a.m. Monday morning, said Gov. Roy Cooper at the news conference Tuesday. However, he added that state health officials won’t know until Friday how many doses North Carolina will receive in its next shipment, which is scheduled for Monday. The number of vaccinations in each batch is determined by the federal government, which is currently shipping doses based on each state’s population.

If the Moderna vaccine is approved by the FDA later this week, Cohen said North Carolina expects to receive about 175,000 doses of that brand, with more than half going to long-term care residents and staff.

When vaccine distribution will begin in Rowan County is still unclear, Rowan County Public Health Director Nina Oliver told the Post. However, health care workers at high risk of exposure to the virus are first on the list, and they will be handled by the hospital systems.

Oliver will host a virtual Q&A on Wednesday at noon to answer any locals’ questions related to the vaccine and distribution. Locals can join the meeting via meeting software Zoom at bit.ly/vaccineQA1216, with passcode 121620. Locals can also join via telephone by dialing 213-338-8477, or 602-753-0140, or 720-928-9299, with webinar ID 922-9021-6194 and passcode 121620. Questions can be submitted before the event at surveymonkey.com/r/vaccineQA.

The CDC reports a total of 16.32 million cases after reporting an additional 204,748 on Tuesday. A total of 300,032 Americans have died from the virus.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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