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October 16, 2021

Darts and Laurels: Current COVID-19 spike likely to bring more deaths in Rowan County

Dart to the high likelihood that Rowan County is in for a deadly spike in COVID-19 cases.

Unless there’s a radical change in behavior, COVID-19 remains only somewhat less threatening to Rowan County residents now than one year ago. Most people in the county are unvaccinated and that means there are still plenty of people who can test positive, become hospitalized and die.

To those firmly opposed to the life-saving vaccines, the refrains about death, hospitalizations and economic destruction just sound like a threat. And those folks aren’t particularly interested in putting on masks again either to prevent themselves or a relative from getting COVID-19. People who did their part, took precautions and got vaccinated may feel the same about masks.

But the county has only created a speed bump — not a wall — for COVID-19. Just 31.2% of residents are considered fully vaccinated, a number that increases to 36.3% when excluding those younger than 12 — the age group for which vaccines haven’t yet been approved. True, vaccines will not provide 100% assurance that people will not test positive for COVID-19 or be hospitalized, but it minimizes chances to single-digit percentages.

There’s good news in the fact that more than 65% of Rowan Countians 65 and older have been fully vaccinated, but the pandemic has proven to be deadly for people who aren’t seniors, too. The Rowan Health Department’s yearly reports about the state of the county’s health being worse than average mean our residents younger than 65 are more vulnerable than most.

Rowan County Health Director Alyssa Harris described the ongoing spike well when she called it “disheartening” and said deaths are preventable.

Laurel to the news that Three Rivers Land Trust closed a deal to roughly double the size the Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest and Nature Preserve in Spencer.

Formerly known as the Spencer Woods, the preserve is about 42 acres. Three Rivers purchased 32 acres of land and plans to contribute 13 acres of its own land.

When possible, it’s important to preserve green spaces for recreational use in urban areas. Sure, Spencer isn’t a metropolis, but Rowan County is on a growth track. That will continue to produce development in previously untouched areas.

By adding land to the nature preserve, Three Rivers and the town of Spencer can also maintain natural habitats for animals who live there.

Laurel to another World Series berth for the Rowan Little League Softball team and a state tournament bid for the Rowan American Legion baseball team.

Since March 2020, it’s been harder than usual to find things the community can collectively celebrate, but sports have filled that void — from the Carson girls winning a basketball title to Salisbury athletes winning titles in swimming and football.

Let’s all lend a cheer to the softball and baseball squads as they make a push for a championship.

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