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County expects new shipment of vaccine later this week after crowd at drive-thru exhausts supply

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Though the first day of COVID-19 vaccinations at the West End Plaza was cut short after hundreds of locals arrived hours early, another 200 people have received their first dose in Rowan County.

Monday marked the first day of drive-thru vaccinations at the West End Plaza, located at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. West. County Public Health Director Nina Oliver said a little more than 200 vaccinations were given, but after only a half-hour officials began turning away new arrivals due to reaching the limit.

While the county expects another shipment of the vaccine later this week, shipments are determined by and funneled through the federal and state government. Oliver said locals can check the health department website and stay updated via local media outlets on when the next round of vaccinations will be administered.

Oliver said some people arrived as early as 5 a.m., signaling that older adults have been “extremely receptive” to receiving the vaccine. She said the early arrival shows they’re anxious and ready to receive the shot, which is a “good problem.”

Rockwell resident Grover “Buddy” Waller said he was the 110th person in line Monday morning to receive the vaccination after arriving at 7:30 a.m. Though he’s not someone who regularly receives the annual flu shot, Waller said he didn’t have to think for very long about receiving the vaccine for COVID-19.

Jerry Kimmer, a Salisbury resident, said he regularly visits the mall at the West End Plaza to walk each morning around 7:30 a.m. But Monday’s walk ended with a shot in the arm that Kimmer said he was happy to receive, especially due to a medical condition that last year resulted in a part of his lung being removed.

Though vehicles were backed up onto Jake Alexander Boulevard West, Kimmer said, the wait was only an hour and that county officials “did a really great job” with the organization of the drive-thru event.

“Anybody should be able to wait an hour for this,” he said.

As the number of vaccinated locals slowly grows, the COVID-19 case count, along with the positivity rate, continues to steadily increase as well. County health officials have reported 185 additional cases of the virus since Saturday, with 136 of those reported on Monday. Of the 10,206 total cases, nearly 41% are currently positive. A total of 5,845 Rowan Countians have recovered, and the average age of all cases is 44.2.

A total of 29 Rowan Countians are currently being hospitalized for the virus.

And with an additional death outside of a local congregate care facility reported on Saturday, a total of 190 Rowan Countians have died from the virus. The number of those outside of such facilities continues to rise, now comprising 88 of the total deaths. The average age among the deaths is 79.

Those statistics currently place Rowan County 20th in the state for most cases and seventh for most reported deaths.

On Monday, state health officials reported an additional 5,936 cases, which amounts to 629,124 total cases since March after 7.61 million tests conducted. That also amounts to a daily percent positive rate of 13.9%, and an overall rate of 8.3%.

A total of 3,843 North Carolinians are currently being hospitalized across the state, while 7,578 have died.

Rowan County’s health care region, the Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, reports the plurality of hospitalizations at 1,048. That region also reports the plurality of ICU beds in use — 488.

County health officials continue to test locals who may not currently have COVID-19 symptoms, but may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. This week, people can receive a test at the following locations:

• Cabarrus-Rowan Community Health Center Mobile Unit, Rowan County Health Department, 1811 E Innes Street, Salisbury
Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. — noon
Jan. 15 from 9 a.m. — noon
Call 704-792-2242 for more details.

• Carolina COVID Testing, 711 E. Innes Street, Salisbury
Seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Testing is free and no appointment is needed. Call 704-413-3080 for more details.

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

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

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

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

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