State reports 10 new COVID-19 deaths in Rowan County, 18 this week

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SALISBURY — With 10 new deaths reported Wednesday, Rowan County’s COVID-19 fatalities reached 387 since the start of the pandemic.

Dates of death vary, but the 10 new deaths make 18 reported this week, which is the highest total since before COVID-19 vaccines became widely available. Most COVID-19 fatalities in Rowan County and in North Carolina are unvaccinated people, local and state health officials say.

Demographic data provided by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services hasn’t yet included the most recent fatalities. Deaths from mid-July, when the current delta variant spike started, to early September show a majority of fatalities are in the 65-74 age group. Next is the 75 and older age group. Five people in the 25-49 age group have died from COVID-19 since late July.

After passing Buncombe County on Wednesday with the 10-death report, Rowan is again seventh in the state for COVID-19 fatalities. Only larger population counties such as Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford have recorded more deaths.

Local vaccination numbers are moving slowly, but the total percentage of Rowan County residents with at least one dose of a two-dose vaccine remains at 50%, which is lower than the state average of 57%.

Data reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week show 21 of 22 intensive care beds occupied at Rowan Medical Center. All beds were in use the previous week. Data also show 182 of 269 total hospital beds in use at Rowan Medical Center. In Rowan’s 18-county region, 795 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, which reflects a slow decrease from the beginning of the month.

The number of Rowan County COVID-19 cases reported in the previous two weeks is 1,430, which is better when adjusted for population than Iredell and Stanly counties and worse than other neighbors. NCDHHS on Wednesday reported 73 new positives in Rowan County.

The percent of tests returning positive has also decreased from more than 20% to 15.7% on Wednesday.

State data show no new school clusters this week in Rowan-Salisbury Schools or outbreaks in congregate living facilities.