COVID-19 cases coming more frequently in Rowan County, North Carolina

Published 11:39 pm Friday, July 16, 2021

SALISBURY — COVID-19 cases continued a slow rise this week, with local numbers hovering consistently in double digits and positives reported across the state topping 1,000 for the first time in months.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports 102 Rowan County cases in the previous seven days — an increase from the 69 reported one week earlier. For the state, a slow climb spiked from 540 to 995 on Wednesday, 1,020 on Thursday and 1,023 on Friday.

May 22 was the last time more than 1,000 daily cases were reported in North Carolina.

State officials have attributed the increase to the Delta variant of COVID-19, which spreads more easily than earlier variations, and encouraged people to be vaccinated to help slow the spread. Labeled as a “variant of concern” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant was first identified in India and has spread throughout the world.

More than 99% of new COVID-19 cases are appearing in people who are unvaccinated, according to NCDHHS.

“These life-saving vaccines are our path out of the pandemic and we are making progress one shot at a time,” Gov. Roy Cooper said this week in announcing the second pair of winners from the state’s vaccination lottery. “Not only will you be protecting yourself, your family and friends, but you’ll get the extra bonus of a double chance at winning a million dollars.”

The number of Rowan County residents vaccinated remains among the worst in the state. State data updated Friday showed 46,412 residents, or 33%, with at least one dose of a vaccination. The number of full vaccinations is about 3,000 people and 2% lower. CDC data show a slightly higher number of first doses administered to Rowan County residents.

Every neighboring county has a better vaccination rate than Rowan.

Like positive cases, hospitalizations across the state also are starting to trend upward — from 374 at the end of June to 536 on Friday. In the 18-county region that contains Rowan County, however, hospitalizations are still lower than last month.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 13,523 deaths since the start of the pandemic. There have been 313 deaths in Rowan County.