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COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

SALISBURY — The number of Rowan County residents who have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination now tops the total number of positives since the start of the pandemic.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services data on Monday showed 15,231 local residents have receive a first dose — an increase of more than 1,000 from Friday. The total number of positives since the start of the pandemic, meanwhile, was 14,908.

The development is a result of the slowed pace of new positives — just 25 were reported Monday. Vaccinations, while limited, have come faster than new cases, with thousands administered locally during a single week in mid-February.

Asked Monday, interim Health Director Alyssa Harris said it’s notable the number of first doses has passed the total number of positives and that it shows the “great work” of vaccine providers in the community. Still, Harris said, it’s important to continue to practice the three Ws — mask wearing, waiting 6 feet apart and washing hands regularly “as we work to see decreases in moderate-to-severe COVID-19 and learn more about how vaccines prevent the spread of asymptomatic COVID-19.”

Compared to the roughly 630 new positives reported in Rowan in the previous two weeks, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services counts 3,302 first doses administered in the same period. The vaccination number does not include any shots administered by the Salisbury VA to local residents or people who have received a dose through the federal government’s program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

This week, Rowan County Health Department plans to administer 560 first doses to frontline health care workers, people 65 and older or preK-12 and early childhood educators. The department’s vaccination is scheduled Thursday.

For more information about vaccine clinics hosted by the Rowan County Health Department, visit: rowancountync.gov/1656/Vaccine-Information.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Monday it will receive 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is one shot and does not require extreme cold storage. It can be more easily shipped, stored and administered, the state said.

“A third COVID-19 vaccine means North Carolina can get more people vaccinated sooner, which will save lives and slow the spread,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine protects against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death.

In other COVID-19 statistics:

• There were no new COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan County on Monday.

• COVID-19 hospitalizations in Rowan county’s region — the Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition — were 297 on Monday with 35 admitted in the previous 24 hours.

• While the majority of local deaths (62%) from COVID-19 have been among people 75 and older, the plurality of positives have been in people ages 25 to 49 (37%).

• About 43% of people 65 and older have received a first dose and 46% 75 and older have done the same.

• The number of second doses of vaccines administered stood at 8,265, or 5.82%, on Monday.

• Rowan County’s number of COVID-19 positives in the previous two weeks is about the same as Iredell, better than Stanly and worse than Davie and Davidson counties.

• The state on Monday reported just 1,466 new positives and 1,319 people hospitalized with COVID-19. There have been 11,254 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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