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County reports six new COVID-19 deaths; 29% of all cases currently active

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — County health officials on Wednesday reported six deaths, with five outside of congregate care facilities, as Rowan County continues to see a critical level of community spread from the virus.

One of those deaths occurred at the Laurels, a nursing home on Lash Drive that has now reported four COVID-19 deaths. Wednesday’s additions mean deaths total 163. The average age among all deaths has also dropped to 79 years old.

A total of 93 additional cases were reported on Wednesday, with 8,010 cases reported since March. Of those, 29% are currently active while 5,500 have recovered.

Of the 330 total Rowan Countians who have been hospitalized for COVID-19, 22 are currently hospitalized.

The average age of all cases in the county is 43.9, with the plurality among those aged 18-35.

State data show 13 Rowan County facilities currently have outbreaks, including Accordius Health, Autumn Care of Salisbury, Brightmoor Nursing Center, the Citadel, the Laurels, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab, Trinity Oaks Continuing Care Retirement, Compass Assisted, the Meadows of Rockwell, Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center in Kannapolis, N.C. State Veterans Home, Bethamy Retirement Center and the Piedmont Correctional Institute.

Those statistics currently put Rowan County 18th in the state for most reported cases, and sixth for deaths.

After reporting 5,609 additional cases across the state on Wednesday, North Carolina reports 494,511 total cases since March, with 6.51 million tests completed. That amounts to a daily positivity rate of 10.7% and an overall rate of 7.6%.

A total of 3,043 North Carolinians are currently being hospitalized and 6,360 have died.

Of the 345 patients admitted on Friday, 25% were among Black North Carolinians, 66% were among white North Carolinians, 6% were Hispanic and 1% were American Indian/Alaskan Natives. More than 60% of those were among those aged 60 years old and older.

State health officials said COVID-19 numbers won’t be updated on Thursday or Friday due to the Christmas holiday. County health officials told the Post on Wednesday that the county numbers won’t be updated on Friday either.

As counties begin vaccinating residents this week, state health officials are also tracking the number of people vaccinated in each county. That data show Rowan County had administered 67 doses of the vaccine as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, but those numbers were measured before local facilities had received doses. Now, the Rowan County Health Department, Rowan Medical Center and Salisbury VA have now received vaccines.

A total of 24,500 North Carolinians have received the first dose as of Tuesday morning. Of those, 8% are Black, 7% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 1% are American Indian or Alaskan Native, 4% were Hispanic and 81% were white. Approximately 62% were between the ages of 25 to 49, and 63% were among women.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced he will extend the state’s eviction moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent until at least Jan. 31. The details of the moratorium are forthcoming, he added, and will be based on if and how the federal government extends the federal moratorium.

State health officials on Wednesday said in an effort to notify North Carolinians as quickly as possible if they have tested positive or been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the state health department and local health departments will expand how they contact people. Starting this week, all North Carolinians who have provided cell phone or email addresses will receive an automatic text message or email to connect them to follow-up resources and support. Those receiving the message will be redirected to a secure website that provides additional information about how to protect themselves and others, how to receive support to safely isolate and how to contact someone immediately for additional information.

CVS will be the only place locals can get tested on Thursday. However, there is no testing in the county on Friday. Appointments for CVS must be booked online.

The CDC reported 195,759 additional cases on Wednesday, totaling 18.17 million cases across the U.S. since January. A total of 321,734 Americans have died from COVID-19. The average number of daily cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days is 64.7.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246. 

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