COVID-19 level in Rowan County is now high

Published 11:28 am Friday, January 6, 2023

SALISBURY — Rowan County is now one of 68 counties across North Carolina that has reported a high level of transmission for COVID-19 cases, with increases in the number of cases seen in those older than 18 and especially for those who are 75 and older, according to an email sent out by the Rowan County Public Health Department.

There are currently 558 known, active COVID cases in the county, a positivity rate of 22 percent, and more than 20 local hospital admissions. In December, four residents died from the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 41 percent of COVID cases across the country are a result of a new strain of the omicron variant, known as XBB. 1.5. Experts say this new strain “might even be more evasive and the most transmissive omicron sub-variant to date.”

The new strain has symptoms that are described as being much more mild and could be mistaken for symptoms of a mild cold, the flu or RSV.

Other omicron variants like B.Q.1.1 and B.Q.1 also remain active.

Symptoms of the three omicron variants include:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Blocked/stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough with or without phlegm
  • Headaches
  • A hoarse voice
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • An altered sense of smell

The health department highly encourages people to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. Anyone who is six months old and older can now get vaccinated. Anyone who is over five years old can also receive a booster. People can arrange to pick up free at-home tests by emailing the health department or by calling the office at 980-432-1800.

If you do test positive for COVID or have the flu and/or RSV, stay home and follow the recommended isolation guidelines for each illness.

Those interested in getting vaccinated or receiving a booster can contact the health department at 980-432-1800 to make an appointment. The vaccines that are available include Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax.

The health department also recommends the following to reduce the risk of getting sick or passing COVID to others:

  • Have a supply of at-home tests to stop the spread by testing more often, especially if you have been around a person who has tested positive or if you start feeling ill.
  • Wear a face mask in public, especially if you have underlying health conditions, are immunocompromised or around someone who is.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
  • Keep distance between yourself and others.
  • Eliminate large gatherings indoors.
  • Open windows, doors or meet outside if the weather permits.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces on a daily basis, including doorknobs, light switches, electronics, phones, computers, remotes, toys and countertops.

Medical professionals can prescribe treatments like Paxlovid and Molnupiravir that are available should you test positive. These should be taken within the first five days of when symptoms first appear.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recently partnered with StarMed to launch a time-limited telemedicine program for individuals without insurance and/or a medical provider. If you are determined to be eligible, StarMed will send a prescription for the oral treatment to a pharmacy of your choice or through a mail-order pharmacy. To set up an appointment, visit or call 704-941-6000. The hours are seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more vaccine information, visit or follow the health department on Facebook:

For Rowan County COVID-19 case information go to