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New zip code in county sees COVID-19 cases with more than 300 new tests reported

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — After 18 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 Friday and Saturday, the county’s total count is now up to 734.

A total of 4,125 tests have been reported, which includes an increase of 355 on Friday and 30 on Saturday. The total number of currently positive cases on Saturday was 264.

The county also saw COVID-19 make its first appearance in one of the county’s far southeastern zip codes — 28137. On Friday, the county reported the first two cases in the zip code. There are no cases in the southeastern tip contained in the zip code 28127, but that section of land is largely undeveloped and there are cases in sections of the zip code that extend into other counties.

Zip code 28147 remains the area with the most cases, at 317, while zip code 28144 is at 190 and zip code 28146 is at 71.

Throughout the week, the average age of cases has continued to drop, now at 48.8. The plurality of cases, 202, have occurred in individuals aged 18-35. Individuals aged 65 and older comprise 198 of the overall cases, 51-64 has 118 cases, 36-50 has 176 cases and cases among children has now reached 40.

A new death from the Citadel was reported on Monday, bringing the total number to 38. The total has not increased since then. There are 21 deaths from the Citadel, 15 from the N.C. State Veterans Home and two not associated with a congregate care facility.

Of the 729 total cases, 14 individuals were being hospitalized Saturday.

The number of cases among males has now surpassed females, with 368 cases are among males and 366 females.

A total of 460 white individuals have tested positive, along with 133 black individuals, three Asian individuals, 223 Hispanic individuals, one American Indian/Alaskan native individual, 74 unknown and 63 classified as other.

On Friday, county and state health officials launched initiatives to expand testing and contact tracing resources. Rowan County residents can now access online tools to help them determine if they should be tested at one of the county’s testing sites.

The tool, located at ncdhhs.gov/symptoms, helps people monitor symptoms. If a test is recommended after a person experiences symptoms, they will receive a link via email or text with a list of nearby testing sites. Individuals can find a testing site by visiting ncdhhs.gov/TestingPlace.

Additionally, the COVID-19 Community Team Outreach (CCTO) Tool, a password-protected online software, helps contact tracing efforts as it allows individuals to keep track of symptoms and connect with contact tracers for additional information and support needed for recovery and protection.

County officials urge local residents to answer a call when the community team reaches out. People should expect a text from 45394 or an email from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.gov with follow up calls from the county health department. Information shared during the call is confidential, and contact tracers will never ask for social security numbers or bank and credit card numbers, county officials said.

Statewide, the largest one-day increases in cases was seen Saturday, with 1,370 cases reported. Other metrics also worsened, including the percentage of tests returning positive and the number of hospitalizations.

In a news release, Heath and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said those changes were “very concerning.”

“We must protect our loved ones and neighbors by working together. It begins with the three Ws — wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart and washing hands frequently,” Cohen said. “It doesn’t stop there. Testing and knowing who has been exposed so they can have the resources and support they need are our tools for slowing the spread of this virus.”

A total of 34,625 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 after 497,350 completed tests. A total of 992 individuals have died, and 708 are currently being hospitalized across the state.

State health officials also reported the first pediatric COVID-19 death in North Carolina. A child in the central part of the state died on Monday from complications associated with a COVID-19 infection, according to a news release. To protect the family’s privacy, state health officials said no further information regarding the child will be released.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to this child’s family,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. “While most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, this is a tragic reminder for all of us that COVID-19 can be a serious illness for anyone. We want to encourage people to protect themselves and others by wearing face coverings, waiting at least 6 feet apart and washing hands often whenever you leave home.”

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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