COVID-19 deaths in Rowan grow by three; Number, size of virus outbreaks grow

Published 2:14 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2021

SALISBURY — State data on Wednesday showed three new COVID-19 deaths among Rowan County residents, bringing the total this month to 11.

While data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday didn’t provide demographic data about individual deaths, including whether people were vaccinated, health officials say an overwhelming majority of deaths are among unvaccinated people.

The three most recent Rowan deaths occurred Aug. 10th, 11th and Monday. Other deaths in August occurred Aug 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Rowan County remains No. 8 in North Carolina for its number of COVID-19 fatalities, with 327. Counties with more deaths all have a larger population, including Buncombe County, which is No. 7 with 337 COVID-19 deaths.

NCDHHS also reported 132 new COVID-19 cases in the county on Wednesday and 1,367 in the previous two weeks. Nearly 20% of COVID-19 tests being conducted in Rowan County are coming back positive. At the start of July, for comparison, there were fewer than 100 cases reported in a two-week period and single-digit percentages of positive tests.

Included in the rising number of cases are congregate living facilities such as nursing homes. In addition to existing outbreaks growing in size, the total number of outbreaks is larger, too.

The Rowan County Detention Center is the largest active outbreak in the county. There, 60 inmates and one staff member have tested positive. Rowan County Sheriff’s Office staff say no one has been hospitalized as a result of an infection. No inmates or staff members have died from COVID-19 during the current outbreak.

 Other congregate living outbreaks are as follows:

• Two resident deaths, 33 resident cases and seven staff cases at Compass Healthcare and Rehab Rowan, a nursing home in Spencer.

• One resident death, one resident case and one staff case at Big Elm Retirement and Nursing Center in Kannapolis.

• Three staff cases at Accordius Health in Salisbury.

• Two staff cases at Brightmoor Nursing Center in Salisbury.

• Two staff cases at the North Carolina State Veterans Home.

• Two resident cases at the Laurels of Salisbury.

• Two resident cases and one staff case at Trinity Oaks nursing home in Salisbury.

• Two staff cases at Compass Assisted Living Rowan, a residential care facility.

In early July, statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 were below 500 people. Now, there are 677 people hospitalized in Rowan County’s region alone — the Triad Healthcare Preparedness coalition, which includes 18 counties. Of those, 178 are in intensive care.

The Rowan County Health Department in a news release called still-rising cases “of great concern” and stressed the importance of getting vaccinated.

“Rowan County Public Health cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting vaccinated, which is the best way to protect yourself and those you come in contact with,” the department said in a news release.

Local vaccination sites include Novant Health’s site at the J.F. Hurley YMCA, which is open Wednesday and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens; grocery stores, including Walmart and Food Lion locations in Salisbury and China Grove; local pharmacies such as Moose Pharmacy, the Medicine Shoppe and Cannon Pharmacy; and health care provider offices such as the Health Department, Rowan Diagnostic Clinic, Pro Med and Salisbury Pediatric only for established patients.

The local vaccination rates are 46% with one dose and 42% who are fully vaccinated. A majority of Rowan County residents 12 and older, the age group for which vaccines are approved, have been vaccinated.