Four COVID-19 deaths reported previous week as pandemic worsens in Rowan

Published 12:10 am Sunday, August 8, 2021

SALISBURY — As COVID-19 cases continue to come more quickly, Rowan County saw four COVID-19 deaths reported among its residents last week, with three occurring on the same day.

Three of the deaths occurred Tuesday. A fourth occurred Monday. Other data wasn’t immediately available, but the deaths bring the total number of COVID-19 fatalities in Rowan County to 320. Already eighth in the state for its number of COVID-19 deaths, Rowan is inching to closer to topping larger population counties such as Buncombe County, which has 329, and Cumberland, which has 339. All of Rowan’s neighboring counties have lower death totals.

Health officials continue to encourage people to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to slow the spread and gain protection from severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

“Public health depends on everyone taking the responsibility to protect the community, especially our children and those who cannot get vaccinated yet,” the Rowan County Health Department said in a statement on Saturday.

But there was good news on COVID-19 vaccinations last week when NCDHHS added new federal data to its state tracker. That data showed Rowan County with a first-dose vaccination rate about 10 percentage points higher than previously recorded. On Friday, state data showed 45% of people who live in the county with at least one dose and 42% who are fully vaccinated. When limited only to those 12 and older, the age group for which vaccinations have been approved, the first-dose number tops 50%.

There are more than a dozen locations to get vaccination in the county, including: Walmart at 323 South Arlington St., the Rowan County Health Department at 1811 East Innes St., Food Lion No. 10 at 525 Jake Alexander Blvd., Price Pharmacy at 422 U.S. 29 in China Grove as well as CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. To find a place to get vaccinated, visit vaccines.gov.

Hospitalizations in Rowan’s region, an 18-county region known as the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, are five times higher than they were one month ago — from 68 to 347. Similarly, the number of people in the intensive care unit with COVID-19 in the region rose from just 11 to 52 in the previous month. The largest portion of new hospital admissions are 60 to 69. Second is the 50 to 59 age group.

Like nearly all in the state, Rowan is considered a high-transmission county by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the previous two weeks, data show 567 new COVID-19 cases, including 79 on Friday. Adjusted for population, that more than all neighboring counties but Cabarrus and Stanly.

In other COVID-19 data:

• The least vaccinated census tract in Rowan County is an area that includes the West End and a small residential area on the east side of West Innes Street that sits south of Rowan Medical Center.

• About 14.7% of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive in Rowan County, which is higher than the state average and all neighboring counties.

• NCDHHS says there are active COVID-19 outbreaks at Big Elm Retirement and Nursing Centers, with one staff case and one resident who died after testing positive; Compass Healthcare and Rehab, with one resident and one staff case; Compass Assisted Living, with two staff cases; and the Rowan County Jail, with 12 resident cases.

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