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County reports 57 new COVID-19 positives Saturday

SALISBURY — For the 12th time in two weeks, Rowan County on Saturday saw an increase of more than 50 COVID-19 cases when health officials added 57 new positives.

There have now been 5,571 COVID-19 positives in Rowan County. With 4,460 people recovered and 131 deaths, there are 980 active cases. A total of 22 Rowan County residents were considered hospitalized Saturday.

The 57 new positives came at the end of a week with the highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases (100) and the fourth-highest increase (75).

There hasn’t been a day with fewer than 10 positives reported since Oct. 26, and the previous two weeks have resulted in particularly steep increases in new cases. Prior to Nov. 14, there were only six days with more than 50 positives reported in one day. The previous two weeks have doubled that, with 12 days where cases have increased by more than 50.

With people preparing to travel, local health officials say that the period immediately before Thanksgiving resulted in a larger than usual number of COVID-19 tests. But tests alone are not the cause for a worsening outbreak in Rowan County — where the percentage of tests coming back positive has increased for three weeks in a row. An increased percentage of positive tests indicates a virus that’s infecting a greater share of the population, health officials say.

Statewide on Saturday, there were 3,444 new positives reported, 357,958 total cases, 1,840 people currently hospitalized, 5,219 deaths and 5.22 million completed tests.

On its website, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services separates hospitalizations by region, with Rowan County falling in the Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition Region. That region — which also includes the likes of Iredell, Davie, Davidson, Forsyth and Guilford counties — has the most COVID-19 patients hospitalized (520) of any region. Of those, 56 were admitted within the previous 24 hours.

The Triad region also tops all others in inpatients beds in use and intensive care beds in use. The Metrolina region, which includes Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Stanly and other counties, is using more ventilators than any other.

Because of the holiday weekend, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services did not provide a Friday update on new outbreaks and clusters. Statistics from Rowan County health officials show cases at local congregate living facilities grew from 781 to 845 this week. There are still outbreaks considered active at Accordius Health (43 total cases), Autumn Care (14 total cases), the N.C. State Veterans Home (three cases), the Laurels (55 total cases), Trinity Oaks Skilled Nursing (94 total cases), Compasses Assisted Senior Living (four total cases) and Meadows of Rockwell (27 total cases).

An active outbreak doesn’t necessarily mean there are still active cases at the facility. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says an outbreak can be declared over if it’s been 28 days from the onset of symptoms in the last symptomatic person or the first date of specimen collection from the most recent asymptomatic person, whichever is later.

For the third time during the pandemic, the Citadel has seen an outbreak of COVID-19, with one positive employee and one resident. The facility on Julian Road produced the largest outbreak in the state in the spring.

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