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Rowan County COVID-19 vaccination numbers see major improvement after inclusion of new data

SALISBURY — Local vaccination numbers made a major jump Wednesday when the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services added new federal data.

The additions included county-level data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Indian Health Service and raised the number of people in Rowan County with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from the mid-30s to 45% of all Rowan County residents. Full vaccinations saw a similar spike — from the low-30s to 41%.

Numbers are better when limited only to those 12 and older — the age for which vaccines have been officially approved. About 52% of those 12 and older have at least one dose and 48% are considered fully vaccinated.

The improvement came as a pleasant surprise for Health Director Alyssa Harris, who said the spike reflects data that’s accurate. There can be a lengthy process for data sharing agreements to be finalized between entities such as NCDHHS and federal agencies, she said.

“As the Rowan County Health Department, we are extremely proud of our community for stepping up and taking the personal responsibility to get vaccinated seriously,” Harris said. “Every COVID-19 vaccine given is more protection for our community as a whole, for those who are at high risk, and for those who cannot get vaccinated. We continue to work hard with our community partners like Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, the Salisbury VA Medical Center, the Community Care Clinic of Rowan County, the Cabarrus-Rowan Community Health Centers, and the numerous local and national pharmacies who are supporting vaccinations throughout the county.”

With COVID-19 spiking across the nation, Harris said the number of first doses of vaccines administered have increased, too. Though, that’s not the only reason for the spike, which includes 10,000 new people receiving a first dose.

Meanwhile, the state is offering $100 cards for first-time COVID-19 vaccinations and $25 cards for drivers at select locations.

Nearby locations offering the incentives in the immediate future include:

• Latin Mix, 931 South Fulton St., from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays in August.

• The Wallace Education Forum, 500 North Main St., on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• The Rowan County Health Department, 1811 East Innes St., on Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• The J.F. Hurley YMCA, 828 Jake Alexander Blvd. West, on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

New COVID-19 cases have increased by 456 in the previous two weeks, which includes 46 new positives on Wednesday. The state on Wednesday saw 3,413 newly reported COVID-19 positives, which was the most cases reported in months.

Deaths in Rowan County remained at 316. There have now been 13,700 deaths from COVID-19 across North Carolina.

Hospitalizations in Rowan County’s region continue to climb, up to 323 on Wednesday from 304 the day prior. The number of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit increase from 74 to 79 in the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, which contains Rowan County. Statewide, hospitalizations grew from 1,465 to 1,580.

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