Three new deaths bring Rowan County to 25 COVID-19 fatalities in August

Published 7:26 pm Monday, August 30, 2021

SALISBURY — Three Rowan County residents died from COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the August death toll to 25.

The fatalities were reported with Monday’s N.C. Department of Health and Human Services data update. The county started the month with 316 total COVID-19 deaths, currently has 341 and remains close to topping Buncombe County (343 deaths) for seventh in the state for most coronavirus fatalities.

Demographic information about the individual deaths was not immediately available Monday, including age and vaccination status. Numbers dating back to the start of the pandemic show most COVID-19 deaths are among those 75 and older. However, the 65-74 age group is a majority among data available for August.

Local and state health officials continue to encourage people to get vaccinated to prevent COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and severe cases.

Numbers self-reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show Rowan Medical Center with 22 of 22 inpatient intensive care beds filled and 186 of 269 total beds full. The hospital also told the Post it has surge plans in place to care for more than its official capacity number.

Rowan County’s hospital region show similar capacity numbers. In the Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, which includes 18 counties, there are just 63 empty intensive care beds and 1,302 total empty beds.

Regional COVID-19 hospitalizations remain elevated from one week ago, but they have plateaued around 850 in the previous few days.

Vaccinations are moving slowly. State data showed 47% of the county’s total population vaccinated with at least one dose one week ago. The number was 48% on Monday. Among those 12 and older, the numbers are better — 56% with at least one dose (about 68,000 people) and 51% fully vaccinated (about 62,000 people).

About 22% of COVID-19 tests in Rowan County are coming back positive, leading to 2,378 new cases in the previous two weeks and 164 new cases on Monday.