UPDATED: County reports 27 COVID-19 deaths this week

Published 1:37 pm Friday, January 15, 2021

SALISBURY — With 27 since Sunday, deaths in Rowan County this week from COVID-19 were reported at their fastest pace yet.

Deaths were reported Tuesday (4), Wednesday (6), Thursday (3), Friday (7) and Saturday (7). Because deaths have accelerated in the previous week, the total this year has already spiked to 45. There have been 210 since the start of the pandemic last year.

The date of death for COVID-19 fatalities reported this week was not immediately clear. However, state data for dates of death show COVID-19 fatalities occurring more frequently now than any time during the pandemic. There has been at least one death in Rowan County attributed to COVID-19 every day in 2021, according to state data.

The average age of the dead remained at 78 on Saturday. But an increase in deaths occurring outside of nursing homes and residential care facilities means that non-congregate deaths are now the majority in Rowan County. There are 113 non-congregate deaths and 104 inside of facilities such as nursing homes and congregate living facilities.

Deaths recorded inside of congregate living facilities are as follows:

• 21, the Citadel

• 16, N.C. State Veterans Home

• 16, Liberty Commons

• 15, Autumn Care

• 10, Trinity Oaks

• Nine, Accordius Health

• Five, Elmcroft

• Four, the Laurels

• Three, Bethamy Retirement

• Three, Compass Assisted Living

• Two, Meadows of Rockwell.

Congregate living cases increased by 40 this week.

Hospital bed usage in Rowan County, which includes people from elsewhere seeking care here, remains near capacity. There are 115 hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients in Rowan County and 91 currently being used — the same as one week prior. Seven of 61 ventilators are being used.

The number of Rowan County residents hospitalized increased by two this week — from 28 to 30.

Cases have continued to increase by triple digits, though not as rapidly as the first week of the year. The county reported 699 new COVID-19 positives this week, which brings the total number of positives to 10,720, the number this year to 1,895 and the official number of cases considered active to 4,530.

Rowan County officials say local, more detailed statistics lag behind the daily updates provided by the state, which showed 11,313 total cases on Friday.

There have been at least 103,088 tests conducted in Rowan County, which means a 10.40% positive rate since the first cases were identified last year. But the local positivity rate in recent weeks has been much higher than the pandemic average. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that the 14-day positivity rate in Rowan County was more than 20%

Statewide, there have been 667,826 total positives from 7.95 million tests as well as 8,016 deaths. There were 3,895 people hospitalized in the state Saturday. The state reports 238,344 people have received the first dose of a vaccine and that 44,271 have completed the vaccine series. Including this week’s large vaccination event, nearly 3,000 people have received the first dose of a vaccination in Rowan.

At least 521,475 people have recovered after testing positive in North Carolina.