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First doses of COVID-19 vaccine rise by more than 1,400

SALISBURY — Winter weather and a lowered allocation for the Rowan County Health Department reduced the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered this week, but more than 1,400 Rowan County residents still received a first dose, according to state statistics.

One week ago, the Rowan County Health Department wrapped up a busy week of vaccinations by administering about 3,000 first doses. It received notice it would receive just 300 doses this week, but winter weather in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country prevented supplies from arriving in time to have a first dose clinic on Thursday.

“As there is not enough vaccine in the state to shift or transfer supply in order to cover the delayed vaccine doses, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services advised providers to assess current appointments and notify recipients accordingly based on on-hand supplies,” the department said in a news release on Friday. “Providers should ensure people get their second dose as close to the recommended time as possible based on supply and to postpone or reschedule first doses.”

The department said providers typically receive shipments of first doses on Tuesday and Wednesday and second doses on Thursday or Friday. Vaccines not shipped this week are expected to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. The supply that would have arrived next week will arrive as scheduled, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said.

Next week also marks the start of phase three, which allows anyone working in child care or PreK-12 schools to be vaccinated.

Rowan County’s next scheduled vaccination clinic is Thursday, but appointments are full. People can sign up to be on the wait list in case appointments are canceled by visiting rowancountync.gov/covid-19. People can also schedule an appointment through Novant Health.

The Rowan Health Department says it will also host a vaccination clinic Saturday and release details next week.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday 13,356 Rowan residents have received a first dose — an increase of 1,427 since the previous week. Because the Health Department was able to continue with its regular second dose vaccination clinic this week, there were more second doses administered to local residents — 1,586 — than first doses. A total of 6,485 people in the county have received their second dose.

At least 9.4% of county residents have received a first dose and 4.56% have received a second shot, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The percentages do not account for any local veterans who received a vaccination through the Salisbury VA or residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Among neighboring counties, Rowan has administered more first doses per capita than Cabarrus and Davidson.

State data also show 14,542 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 879 coming in the previous two weeks. While the number of positives has continued to decline in recent weeks, Rowan County has seen more cases than most counties in the state. Including neighboring Stanly County and nearby Montgomery County, just 17 counties in the state have seen more cases per capita in the previous two weeks.

The state reports 269 local COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with nine in the previous two weeks and four this week.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Rowan County’s region, the Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, were 408 on Saturday. Of those, 41 were admitted in the previous 24 hours.

Active congregate living outbreaks in the county are as follows:

• Autumn Care of Salisbury, 70 total cases and nine deaths.

• Big Elm Retirement and Nursing Center, 103 cases and 10 deaths.

• Brightmoor Nursing Center, nine cases.

• Compass Healthcare and Rehab, four cases.

• W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center, 37 cases and four deaths.

• Compass Assisted Living Rowan, 47 cases and five deaths.

• Elmcroft of Salisbury, nine cases.

• Rowan County Detention Center, 26 cases.

The state on Friday declared outbreaks over at Best of Care Assisted Living and Trinity Oaks Continuing Care Retirement.

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