August COVID-19 deaths up to 28 in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2021

SALISBURY — The August COVID-19 death toll in Rowan County increased to 28 on Thursday when state health officials reported three more fatalities.

All three new deaths occurred Friday, Aug. 27.  More specific demographic information about the deaths was not immediately available, including whether any were vaccinated.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has posted demographic data for Rowan County COVID-19 deaths up to Aug. 15. Of those, three are 75 and older, seven are 65-74, two are 50-64 and one is 25-49. For two deaths, age data isn’t available.

NCDHHS’ data portal doesn’t provide regular updates on vaccination status of individual fatalities. However, the state agency released a report last week showing unvaccinated people were more than 15 times more likely than the vaccinated to die from COVID-19 during a four-week period starting in late July and ending Aug. 21.

Hospitalizations only increased by three across the 18-county region that includes Rowan County, but beds also are near capacity after more than a month of surging COVID-19 cases.

“Quite frankly, beds are scarce. We are running short on resources,” Sid Fletcher, Novant Health senior vice president and chief clinic officer, told reporters during a joint briefing on Thursday with Atrium Health and CaroMont Health.

Across Charlotte-area hospitals, there are 933 people hospitalized, with 857 of those unvaccinated and 76 vaccinated. Of those on life support in the Charlotte region, 122 are unvaccinated and four are vaccinated.

To avoid hospitalizations, the Rowan County Health Department on Thursday encouraged people to get vaccinated, practice precautions such as wearing a mask and work toward a healthy immune system by eating right, getting plenty of sleep and staying physically active.

“We cannot overstate the urgency and serious situations we are facing with our hospital and emergency departments being overwhelmed,” the Rowan County Health Department said in a social media post.

The number of daily cases per capita in the county remain among the highest in the state. However, Graham County, which is on the North Carolina-Tennessee border, took the No. 1 spot Thursday for most cases per capita in the previous two weeks.

There are 68,674 Rowan residents vaccinated with at least one dose (48%) and 62,517 people fully vaccinated (44%). Among those 12 and older, 56% have at least one dose and 51% are fully vaccinated.