Health director: Rowan County seeing ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 cases

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2022

SALISBURY — The community is seeing a “tsunami of COVID-19 cases,” says Rowan County Health Director Alyssa Harris.

With multiple instances of more than 500 cases being reported in a day and hundreds of daily cases otherwise, the number of COVID-19 positives in the community is at its highest level yet.  The daily average of cases is 359.

Harris said data on Tuesday showed 4,527 COVID-19 cases still considered active. The numbers do not include people who haven’t taken a COVID-19 test or who have used at-home tests.

“Rowan County is seeing a tsunami of COVID-19 cases,” she said. “Please be advised — we are seeing an extreme amount of community spread of COVID19 for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. … COVID-19 is a multi-system disease that has a destructive impact on the body, especially for those who are unvaccinated and with any condition — cancer, obesity, COPD, diabetes, etc.”

She said 83% of local tests that have been sequenced locally are the omicron variant and that about 70% of positive tests are unvaccinated. Harris said the omicron variant’s most frequent symptoms are a fever, sore throat, headache and cough.

On Wednesday, Rowan County’s two-week case total was worse when adjusted for population than most neighboring counties. Stanly and Davidson counties both have higher totals.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 34.8% of tests in the previous two weeks have returned positive.

Harris said there are more than 64 Rowan County residents in the hospital with COVID-19 in addition to six people who are on ventilators. There are 1,089 people hospitalized in the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition, which includes Rowan County. The regional number is more than double what it was one month ago.

The number of deaths in Rowan County remained unchanged on Wednesday — 515 since the start of the pandemic and 15 this year.

Nearly all intensive care cases and deaths are unvaccinated people, Harris said.

State data show 16 COVID-19 outbreaks in Rowan County congregate living facilities that have primarily been driven by COVID-positive staff. They are as follows:

• Autumn Care of Salisbury, 9 staff members and one resident

• Big Elm Retirement and Nursing Centers, seven staff members and one resident

• Brightmoor Nursing Center, three staff members

• Compass Healthcare and Rehab Rowan, six staff members and one resident

• Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehab Center, seven staff cases

• N.C. State Veterans Home, six staff cases

• The Citadel Salisbury, three staff cases

• The Laurels of Salisbury, three staff cases

• Trinity Oaks Nursing Home, 11 staff cases

• Salisbury VA Medical Center nursing home, three resident cases

• Brookdale Salisbury, three staff cases, one resident case and one resident death

• Compass Assisted Living Rowan, two staff cases

• Elmcroft of Salisbury, four staff cases and one resident case

• The Meadows of Rockwell Retirement Center, two staff cases, 12 resident cases

• Trinity Oaks Continuing Care Retirement Community, four resident cases