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Five new COVID-19 deaths reported as county continues vaccination progress

SALISBURY — Five new COVID-19 deaths, hundreds of new vaccinations and 59 new COVID-19 positives were reported in Rowan County on Friday.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the increase in deaths — from 259 to 264 — came from inside a congregate living facility or elsewhere. The Rowan County Health Department stopped reporting local data this week to shift its attention to COVID-19 vaccinations, and the state does not provide cumulative death data.

Report dates lag behind dates of death. This week, one death occurred Sunday and two occurred on Tuesday. Deaths that occurred Wednesday or Thursday were not yet noted.

More than 1,000 were vaccinated on Friday, with 889 getting new first doses in the county, bringing the number of Rowan residents who have received their first shot to 10,683. The number of second doses increased by 359, which brought the local total to 4,141.

The number of first doses administered here per capita still lags behind all of Rowan County’s neighbors, but it was within two-tenths of a percentage point of Cabarrus County on Friday. Of neighboring counties, Rowan has administered fewer doses per capita than all but Stanly County.

For both first and second doses, Rowan is below the state average for doses administered per capita.

One more large, public vaccination event will take place this week — on Saturday at West End Plaza at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. W. As of 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, there were still more than 100 appointments available. People can make appointments by visiting rowancountync.gov/1671/First-Dose-Clinics. The Rowan County Health Department is currently vaccinating people who 65 and older or a health care worker with direct contact with patients.

The number of new COVID-19 positives and the test positivity rate continues to show improvement, with just 59 positives reported Friday and an 11.8% positivity rate.

The positivity rate is still higher than the state’s rate of 6.5%, but it continues to decline from its peak after the holidays.

In the previous two weeks, Rowan County has seen 1,300 new positives reported. There have been 14,070 positives since the start of the pandemic.

In an update of congregate living outbreaks on Friday, the Rowan County Detention Center saw the size of its outbreak jump sharply from 12 to 24, with 23 of the cases among residents.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also said a number of congregate living outbreaks in Rowan County ended, including at the Citadel, Trinity Oaks, Brookdale and Bethamy Retirement Center. Trinity Oaks was the largest of those outbreaks, with 192 total cases and 13 deaths.

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