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Vaccinations not counted in state data improve Rowan’s numbers

SALISBURY — The COVID-19 vaccination rate in Rowan County is better than state data show, says interim Health Director Alyssa Harris.

While N.C. Department of Health and Human Services data show 38,296 Rowan County residents vaccinated with at least one dose, there are thousands of excluded people who have received their shots from the Salisbury VA, Harris said. She said 4,930 people vaccinated through the VA are Rowan County residents, bringing the total to 43,226, or about 30.4% of the population. Another 137 people are scheduled to receive a first vaccination, she said.

“This is much more in line with the counties that surround us,” Harris said. “I think this is an important piece of the story — that our citizens receive care and vaccinations at the VA and that we are not much behind other communities for vaccine uptake.”

While state data do not include people vaccinated through VA hospitals in other counties, neighboring communities with a higher percentage of people vaccinated after Harris’ addition include Davidson, 30.5%; Iredell, 33.8%; Cabarrus, 34.3%; and Davie, 39.1%. Without the addition, all neighboring counties have higher vaccination rates.

Harris said local health directors have asked state officials if data for the Department of Defense, which includes the Salisbury VA, can be more readily available.

Data available online from the VA Health Care System show a total of 30,958 people have received one dose of a vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) from the Salisbury VA, which includes facilities in Charlotte and Kernersville. Of those, 27,719 have received a second dose. An additional 847 have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. County of residence is not provided in the VA’s online COVID-19 portal.

In other COVID-19 statistics

• The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 17 new positives in Rowan County on Monday. There have been 396 cases reported in the previous two weeks.

• There were no new deaths reported Monday, keeping the COVID-19 fatalities among Rowan county residents at 300.

• The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Rowan County’s region — the 18-county area known as the Triad Health Care Preparedness Coalition — was 204 on Monday, which is a decrease from the 220 hospitalized one week ago. The number of adult ICU patients with COVID-19 was 53.

• The percentage of tests returning positive Monday in Rowan County was 7.6%, which was higher than the state average of 6%.

• Across North Carolina on Monday, there were 1,126 new COVID-19 cases reported and 1,007 people hospitalized with the virus. The percent of the adult population vaccinated with one dose is 49.6%.

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