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No COVID-19 deaths, slight increase in hospitalizations this week

SALISBURY — Data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services show no COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan County this week and a slightly elevated number of people hospitalized in the region.

The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 remained at 300 Friday. Most of those deaths occurred in 2020. While the pace of deaths in January was the fastest yet, February and March brought decreases in the pace of deaths, and the latest data show just two COVID-19 fatalities occurring in February — on April 4 and April 10.

Data for deaths, however, isn’t immediately reported and can lag a few days.

The Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, an 18-county area that contains Rowan, reported 250 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday and 61 in the ICU with the virus. One week ago, the same numbers were 220 and 53, respectively.

The number of Rowan County residents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine continues to rise, but the percent of the population that has received at least one shot remains among the worst in the state.

The percent of people vaccinated with at least one dose in Rowan County grew from 24.4%  to 26.6% this week. The fully vaccinated percentage, which includes people with two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer varieties and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, grew from 18.5% to 21.7%.

Across the state, 38.9% of the population has received at least one dose and 31.9% is fully vaccinated.

Orange County, which contains Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina, is faring the best in the state, having vaccinated more than 57% of its residents with at least one dose and fully vaccinated 49.7%.

In other COVID-19 data:

• NCDHHS reported 419 positives in the previous 14 days and 36 on Friday. Positives per capita here in the previous 14 days are higher that all neighboring counties but Cabarrus and Stanly counties.

• The state on Friday reported 4.8% of tests were positive — a number that’s been mostly flat. In Rowan County, the same number was 7.9%.

• Because of the positives per capita and the percent of tests returning positive, Rowan County was upgraded this week to the “substantial impact” tier along with a number of other counties in the state. That’s one tier from the worst in the state’s county alert system — “critical impact.”

• State data show four total nursing home or residential care outbreaks in Rowan County, including the N.C. State Veterans Home, which has two cases; Alpha Concord Plantation, which has five cases; Deal Care Inn, which has five cases; and Brightmoor Nursing Center, which has 13 cases.

• There are no child care or school clusters.

• Piedmont Correctional Institute in Salisbury has one case.

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