COVID-19 cases in NC hit record, continue rising in Rowan County

Published 6:27 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

SALISBURY — As North Carolina saw its highest number of new COVID-19 positives reported, Rowan County also saw a spike of more than 200 new cases on Thursday.

The statewide increase from Wednesday to Thursday was 18,571 COVID-19 cases — more than any single-day increase since the start of the pandemic. In Rowan County, the one-day increase was 247.

The highest single-day number of local cases was 314 on Aug. 23 during a spike caused by the delta variant. Now, a variant called “omicron” has brought a much faster rise in cases.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says omicron is believed to be less severe for people who are vaccinated and that unvaccinated people and those with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization.

A Thursday news release said 89% of people in intensive care are not vaccinated for COVID-19.

“We are concerned that even a very small proportion of these cases ending up in the hospital could overwhelm our hospital system and increase the loss of lives of those most vulnerable,” said incoming NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Everyone can help save lives and protect hospital capacity by getting vaccinated if you haven’t already and getting boosted if you are eligible.”

Rowan County Health Director Alyssa Harris said all COVID-19 deaths in December have been among unvaccinated people. They ranged in age from 35 to 87. Five of the seven had comorbidities — health conditions that increase the likelihood for severe illness.

People who suspect they have COVID-19 and want to get tested should not go to the Rowan Medical Center unless conditions are life-threatening, Novant Health said.

“Visiting emergency departments only to get tested heightens the risk of exposure to everyone, including those at high risk, and puts a big strain on resources and timeliness of care for those who need it most,” Novant Health said in an emailed statement.

People can find a COVID-19 testing site near them by visiting

Novant Health offers COVID-19 vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA on Jake Alexander Boulevard in Salisbury. Walk-in vaccinations are only available for those 12 and older.

For other vaccination locations, visit

Other COVID-19 statistics for Rowan County are as follows:

• There was no change in the number of COVID-19 deaths on Thursday. The death toll since the start of the pandemic remains 488. There have been 299 deaths since the start of the year.

• 45% of county residents have received at least one dose and 42% are considered fully vaccinated. NCDHHS doesn’t yet provide data about how many people have received a booster shot.

• The number of people hospitalized in Rowan County’s region, the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, rose from 544 to 592 in Thursday’s report.

• The percentage of tests returning positive in Rowan County is about 14%, a number that’s also increased in recent weeks.