New COVID-19 cases slowing down from peak earlier this month

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

SALISBURY — State data show COVID-19 cases slowing down somewhat even as the percentage of tests coming back positive increases.

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in North Carolina on Tuesday was 13,017. In Rowan County, Tuesday’s total of new cases was 364.

Both numbers are lower than the highest peaks of cases this month. Amid winter weather, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and limited testing options, new positives last week also fell below the earlier peak.

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services data show 646 tests conducted among Rowan County residents on Jan. 10 later returned positive. The peak for North Carolina also is Jan. 10 — when 43,954 tests later returned positive. It’s possible other days could surpass the total as results are reported for tests already conducted.

The total number of completed tests, which includes negative results, also has dropped off from a peak earlier in the month. Numbers do not include rapid tests conducted at home.

The Rowan County Health Department on Tuesday says the county has seen “a tremendous increase in COVID cases” and that it remains important to wear a mask, wash hands and keep physical distance from others regardless of vaccination status.

The only local COVID-19 cluster — five or more cases that can be traced back to a school or childcare setting — is at Hurley Elementary School. There, three staff and three children tested positive.

There are 16 local COVID-19 outbreaks at congregate living facilities such as nursing homes, residential care facilities or jails. The largest of them is at Autumn Care of Salisbury — where 24 staff members and 18 residents have tested positive. The N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury — where 26 staff members have tested positive — has the second-largest outbreak.

The percent of tests returning positive has only moved in one direction during the omicron spike — up. Statewide, 36.4% of tests were positive in results reported Tuesday. In Rowan County, the number is slightly higher — 39.1%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations also continue to increase, with 5,055 in hospitals across the state on Tuesday compared to 1,752 one month earlier. In Rowan County’s region, there were 1,156 people hospitalized Tuesday compared to 530 one month earlier.

Including non-COVID patients, 20 of 22 intensive care beds and 184 of 269 total beds were occupied at Rowan Medical Center in data reported this week.

Vaccination percentages remain the the same in the county — 46% with one dose and 43%. State data show 22,829 Rowan County residents have received a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

State data show 523 Rowan residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 23 have died this month.