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1,708 Rowan residents received first COVID-19 vaccine last week

SALISBURY — Rowan County saw 1,708 residents receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose last week and 1,952 added to the list of people fully vaccinated, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

While making progress, Rowan remains among the counties with the lowest portion of its population vaccinated for COVID-19. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 24.4% of residents have received at least one dose and 18.5% are fully vaccinated, which includes people who have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The one-shot vaccine has now been OK’d again by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Food and Drug Administration after six cases of a rare blood clot across the country. The agencies said the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh risks in individuals 18 years and older. At the time of the pause, about 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in the U.S. During the pause, nine new cases of the rare blood clots (a total of 15) were identified.

Nearly all of the COVID-19 vaccines administered in Rowan County have been the Pfizer or Moderna varieties.

With more doses coming into the county than being administered, the Rowan County Health Department shared a number of things people who are hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine should know, including that getting the COVID-19 vaccine protects people from becoming seriously ill from the virus, that more people being vaccinated will help life return to normal, that vaccine development didn’t “skip steps,” people who have already tested positive for COVID-19 can get additional protection by receiving the vaccine and there’s no cost to receive it.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 37.7% of North Carolinians are vaccinated with at least one dose, which is higher than the percentage of Rowan residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, reports 41.8% of Americans have received at least one dose.

While new COVID-19 deaths have slowed significantly since the start of the year, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the 300th fatality in Rowan County this week. A majority of local deaths, 172, were reported in 2020.

With No. 300, Rowan County has more COVID-19 fatalities than any of its neighbors. A majority (62%) have come among people 75 and older in and outside of nursing homes. The next-highest age group are those 65 to 74, which represent 19% of the local COVID-19 deaths.

New positives in the county remain steady, with 454 reported in the previous two weeks. That compares favorably to most neighboring counties when adjusted for population, with only Cabarrus and Stanly County having more cases per 100,000 residents.

In Rowan County’s hospital region, the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, there were 219 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday. That is higher than one month ago when 205 people were hospitalized with the virus in the 18-county region.

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