As COVID-19 deaths continue rising, August becomes deadliest month since January

Published 6:24 pm Friday, September 3, 2021

SALISBURY — Thirty-one Rowan County residents died from COVID-19 in August, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nine of the 31 deaths were reported this week, with all but one occurring in August. The numbers make August the deadliest month for COVID-19 in Rowan County since January and eclipse the combined death toll from March through July.

While demographic information is not available for individual deaths, NCDHHS last week used data for a four-week period ending Aug. 21 to say unvaccinated North Carolinians are 15 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people. The 65-74 age group comprises the plurality of Rowan County deaths from COVID-19 in August.

NCDHHS data show 347 COVID-19 fatalities in Rowan County since the start of the pandemic, which ties it with Buncombe County for seventh in the state. Counties with more COVID-19 deaths include Cumberland (393), Forsyth (464), Wake (774), Guilford (778), Gaston (481) and Mecklenburg (1,061).

Briefly, Rowan County was No. 1 in the state this week for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. While their total number of cases is lower, data on Friday showed Cherokee and Graham counties in western North Carolina, with more COVID-19 positives per capita than Rowan.

In the previous two weeks, Rowan County had 2,654 COVID-19 positive cases, including 176 on Friday.

Also among active cases are 286 Rowan-Salisbury Schools students and 45 of the district’s staff members. Student quarantines on Friday declined to 2,431 from their peak of more than 3,000. Staff quarantines were 134.

Hospitals remain at or close to capacity across the region, but Rowan County’s area (the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition) actually saw a slight improvement this week in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 — from 850 to 844.

Vaccinations are making progress, too, with Rowan County inching closer to having a majority of its residents vaccinated, according to NCDHHS data. A majority of people who are eligible to be vaccinated in the county (those 12 and older) have done so.

Data on Friday showed 49% of all Rowan residents with at least one dose, 44% of all residents fully vaccinated, 56% of those eligible with at least one dose and 51% of those eligible fully vaccinated.

For local COVID-19 information, including where to receive COVID-19 tests or vaccines, visit rowancountync.gov/COVID-19 or call the Rowan County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 980-432-1800.

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