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August 8, 2020

County nears two weeks of continuous double-digit increases

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Health Department reported an additional 26 people tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday, marking the 12th day in a row the county has seen a double-digit increase in the number of new positive cases.

A total of 1,261 people have tested positive, and at least 7,073 tests have been conducted.

Recoveries continue to rise, too, and are now at 962, which is an increase of 61 from one day earlier. As a result, the number of currently positive cases fell again on Thursday, by 35, and is now at 256. Hospitalizations remained at 22 on Thursday.

The total number of deaths remains at 43, with all but six from congregate care facilities. The number of positive cases at congregate care facilities remains at 228 as well.

On June 27, county officials confirmed that six employees at the Community Living Center on the campus of W.G. Bill Hefner VA Medical Center, a VA nursing home, tested positive for COVID-19. Amanda Reilly, public affairs officer for the Salisbury VA Health Care System, on Thursday said that no veterans are positive at this time, which can be attributed to the “strict visitation and testing policy.”

“Following VA and CDC guidance, our veteran residents and employees at the VA’s Community Living Center are tested weekly and screened daily to detect and stop the spread of COVID-19,” she said in an emailed statement.

Reilly added that since March, 16 Community Living Center employees have tested positive for community transmission of COVID-19 out of the total 255 Community Living Center employees. Six of those employees have returned to work after being cleared, and seven employees are self-isolating at home.

Statewide, a total of 68,142 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after 971,120 completed tests. A total of 912 people are being hospitalized and 1,391 people have died across the state.

State health officials are launching a new social media marketing campaign as part of a larger public outreach campaign intended to reach historically marginalized populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

In Rowan County, Hispanic residents continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as 420 have tested positive. That amounts to 33.31% of all cases. A total of 766 white residents have tested positive, along with 179 Black residents, five Asian residents, three American Indian or Alaskan Native residents and one Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. There are 138 labeled unknown and 169 who are “other.”

The average age of positive cases has been dropping for weeks as younger age groups are testing positive more frequently. The average age of cases is now at 43.9. Those aged 18-35 comprise the plurality of cases in the county, at 373. They are followed by those aged 36-50, at 320. Those older than 65 represent 241 cases. The 51-64 age bracket represents 206 cases. And a total of 121 people under the age of 18 have tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of 656 men have tested positive and 605 women have tested positive.

Zip code 28147 remains the area with the most positive cases at 456, followed by zip code 28144 at 284 and 28146 at 169 cases.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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