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March 6, 2021

County records 19 COVID-19 deaths this week

SALISBURY — Rowan County deaths from COVID-19 this week continued to come several at a time.

There were 19 deaths reported Sunday through Saturday, down from the 27 the week prior. Seven deaths were reported both Wednesday and Thursday. Five deaths were reported Saturday.

With a total of 236 deaths in Rowan County, 130 have been at outside of facilities such as nursing homes and residential care facilities, according to local statistics. Non-congregate deaths became the majority two weeks ago and continued to grow this week.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also recorded several new deaths that were not listed in local statistics. Those deaths occurred at congregate living facilities in southern Rowan County — four at Big Elm Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Kannapolis and one at Best of Care Assisted Living in Enochville.

The average age of deaths in Rowan County remains at 78.

Hospital beds usage in Rowan County also grew closer to capacity this week, going from 91 to 101 of 115. Seven ventilators were in use this week, which was unchanged.

The increase of hospital beds in use and other grim statistics are part of the fallout from a peak of positive tests two weeks ago, said Salisbury VA acting Chief of Staff Randall Gehle. Two weeks ago, the state was reporting daily increases north of 10,000, but daily increases have not been as high since then.

Locally, despite daily increases being as low as 66, the average number of daily positives (100.43) was actually higher this week than either of the other two full weeks in 2021 (99.86 and 98.71).

There have now been 11,423 positive tests in Rowan County during the pandemic, with 2,598 of those coming this year. Of those, 6,123 have recovered and 108,264 tests were completed in Rowan County.

Statewide on Saturday, there were 712,716 total COVID-19 positives — an increase of nearly 45,000 from the week prior. There were 3,416 people hospitalized, 8,586 deaths and 8.39 million completed tests.

The state on Saturday also reported that a variant of COVID-19 first spotted in the United Kingdom in December was also deleted in Mecklenburg County by Mako Medical Laboratories. The variant is thought to be more contagious than other variants. Though, current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against the new variant.

“While expected, identification of this COVID-19 variant in North Carolina is concerning, especially at the same time as we are already seeing very high numbers of cases,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen. “It is more important than ever to practice the 3Ws.”

In North Carolina, 424,274 people have received their first dose of a vaccine and 76,293 have completed their vaccine series. In Rowan County, 3,768 people have received their first dose of a vaccine and 404 have completed the series. Of adjacent counties, Rowan only beats Davie and Stanly. But Davie has actually administered more second doses than Rowan.

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