Rowan County upgraded to ‘high risk’ for COVID-19 spread

Published 12:10 am Sunday, July 24, 2022

SALISBURY — Rowan County is now listed among “high risk” for COVID counties by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of several new counties across North Carolina that have bumped up on the risk chart.

The changes were made on Friday after case levels continued to rise in the county. As a high-risk community, Rowan County is now encouraged by the CDC to begin incorporating preventative strategies such as wearing masks indoors at public gatherings, speaking with health officials for residents who are already immunocompromised, self-testing before interacting with people who have a high risk of infection, staying up-to-date with vaccines and boosters, and improving indoor ventilation.

The spike in cases is believed to be the result of the BA.5 variant of the virus which is causing a significant number of repeat infections for many individuals who have already had COVID in the past or who have been vaccinated and boosted.

Symptoms of BA.5 reportedly include common cold-like conditions including a runny nose, sort throat and fatigue. In rarer cases, back pain has also been found in some patients dealing with this strain of the virus.

In commenting on the new classification for the county, the Rowan County Health Department said, “Here locally, we have definitely seen an increase in the amount of positive COVID-19 virus being detected in our local wastewater samplings. This state monitoring system, of which we have two in Rowan County, can look for the SARs-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.”

“With more access to home testing kits and less people reporting positive cases to Rowan County Public Health, this monitoring system give us a better understanding of how our COVID cases are going and if there is a need for us to become more proactive, especially for those individuals that are immunocompromised.”

“In closing, Rowan County Public Health highly suggest that we all do what we can to stop the spread of BA.5, especially as we finish up vacations and as families prepare for the return of school in the next few weeks. If you or a loved one still needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19, please call 704-216-8777 and choose option 3 to make an appointment. Vaccines for all ages are available.”

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact public health at 980-432-1800 or visit Covid-19@rowancountync.gov to receive free at-home tests.

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