Rowan jail outbreak is third-largest of its kind in North Carolina

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2021

SALISBURY — State data show a COVID-19 outbreak at the Rowan County Detention Center is the third-largest of its kind in the state.

COVID-19 outbreak data for congregate living facilities, which include county jails, show the Rowan County Detention Center’s current outbreak has produced 68 positives, which includes two staff members and 66 inmates. Larger outbreaks are at the Davidson County Detention Center, where there are 79 total cases, and the Johnston County Jail, where there are 105 cases.

A total provided Wednesday by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office for the local jail included a different composition of cases — 53 inmates and five detention staff who are currently positive. N.C. Department of Health and Human Services numbers, by comparison, count a total number of positives since the start of the current outbreak.

With 322 inmates on Wednesday, the number of active COVID-19 cases is 16.5% of the jail population.

Any inmate that is positive for COVID-19 is being housed with others who are positive, said Maj. John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

“No inmates that have tested positive are being housed with inmates that are symptom-free of COVID,” Sifford said.

Inmates are given the option be vaccinated when they’re booked into the facility and can receive a shot later if they’re interested, he said. Six people were vaccinated for COVID-19 on Tuesday in the jail, but it’s not clear how many total inmates are vaccinated. The same information also wasn’t available for detention center staff.

Sifford said detention staff and supervised inmates are sanitizing common areas frequently. The jail also purchased a chemical sprayer last year to sanitize surfaces.

With 26 positive, Piedmont Correctional Institution has the largest number of active COVID-19 cases among state prisons. All others have fewer than 10, according to Department of Public Safety data. Data from DPS show 4,758 inmates have been tested at the state prison. Of those, 412 have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

Cases have also grown in Rowan County nursing homes and residential care facilities. Nearly a dozen such facilities have two or more COVID-19 cases in Rowan County (the threshold for an outbreak). They are as follows:

• Accordius Health at Salisbury — three staff cases

• Autumn Care of Salisbury — four staff cases

• Big Elm Retirement and Nursing Centers — one staff case, one resident case and one resident death

• Brightmoor Nursing Center – three staff cases

• Compass Healthcare and Rehab Rowan — seven staff cases, 33 resident cases and three resident deaths

• N.C. State Veterans Home — two staff cases

• The Laurels of Salisbury — one staff cases, five resident cases and two resident deaths

• Trinity Oaks Nursing Home • three staff cases and two resident cases

• Brookdale Salisbury — two staff cases

• Compass Assisted Living Rowan — two staff cases

• The Meadows of Rockwell Retirement Center — three staff cases

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday reported a new COVID-19 death in Rowan County. The death occurred Monday, but other information about the fatality wasn’t immediately available.

Rowan County has now seen 337 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic and 21 in the month of August.

Cases are continuing to come in triple digits on a daily basis. Included in the 1,711 new Rowan County positives in the previous two weeks were 142 cases on Wednesday.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the 18-county area that contains Rowan were 819 on Wednesday. Of those, 205 were in intensive care.