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Rowan ends week with three COVID-19 deaths, 26 average daily cases

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County ended the week with three additional COVID-19 deaths reported, 12% of total cases considered active and fewer than 8% of tests returned positive since March, marking an outbreak that local health officials say has remained steady.

Single-day increases continue to fluctuate, with daily increases averaging 26 cases over the last seven days. A total of 52 additional cases were reported on Monday, and 40 cases were added on Friday.

Meredith Littell, the county’s nursing director, said earlier this week that, while the county has not yet seen a dip in its overall numbers, the outbreak has been steady. Overall, Littell said she’s optimistic with how the community has handled the pandemic so far and how it will handle it in the future, particularly as flu season approaches.

The average age among all COVID-19 deaths reported is 80. The three deaths reported this week include one at Liberty Commons on Tuesday and two local not associated with a congregate care facility on Friday and Saturday. A total of 107 people have died from COVID-19 in Rowan County, with all but 37 at local congregate care facilities.

That puts Rowan County at fourth in the state for most COVID-19 deaths reported since March. Ahead of Rowan County are Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties — all of which have larger populations.

While the Citadel has seen the most COVID-19 deaths to date, 21, Liberty Commons is the site of the deadliest active outbreak, as 12 deaths and 61 cases are reported there. There have been no deaths yet reported during a second outbreak at the Citadel.

Of the 3,699 cases reported in Rowan County since March, 325 have been at congregate care facilities with active outbreaks, according to the latest state data. Those outbreaks include 45 cases and seven deaths at Accordius Health; 53 cases and six deaths at Autumn Care; eight cases at the Citadel; 93 cases and eight deaths at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab; eight cases at Elmcroft; two cases at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Living Center; and four cases at Compass Health.

Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that of the 2,234 inmates tested, 42 have active cases. That contrasts with the Rowan County Health Department’s numbers, which show 70 inmate cases at the prison.

After more than 46,000 reported COVID-19 tests in Rowan County, 7.83% of those have returned positive — the lowest rate for the county yet. Health officials, however, have recommended that the rate of percent positive tests stay around 5%.

The average age of positive cases remains at 43, while the average age of hospitalizations remains at 64.

County data show 12 of the cases added this week are among Hispanic residents, which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Also this week, Rowan County saw an average of 85% of its total cases recover from COVID-19. As of Saturday, 3,140 people have recovered.

A total of 19 people in Rowan County are being hospitalized for COVID-19. And of the 106 available hospital beds, 55 are currently in use. No ventilators are currently in use.

Cabarrus County currently reports 4,306 positive COVID-19 cases, with 8.5% of those cases currently active, and 80 deaths. There are currently six outbreaks among local congregate care facilities there, including 93 cases and 10 deaths at Brian Center Health and Retirement; eight cases at Five Oaks Manor; 71 cases and three deaths at Transitional Housing Services of Kannapolis; four cases at Morningside of Concord; 36 cases and two deaths at the Living Center of Concord; and four cases at Universal Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in Concord.

A total of 229,752 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina, with 3.34 million tests completed. A total of 1,034 people are currently being hospitalized, while 3,765 have died.

Of the 3,765 statewide deaths, 58% have been among those older than 75. And 30% have been among Black residents, though they only comprise 22% of the overall state population.

Additionally, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the state’s Hispanic population as 32% of North Carolina’s Hispanic residents have tested positive despite only making up roughly 10% of the state’s population. Almost half, at 40%, of cases across the state have been confirmed among those aged 25-49.

And as flu season approaches, state health officials have began tracking flu cases and deaths across the state. State data show that of the nine flu tests submitted to the state lab so far, none have returned positive.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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