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The original item was published from 3/18/2022 8:43:02 AM to 1/1/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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COVID-19 Media Releases

Posted on: March 18, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Media Release COVID-19 - March 18, 2022

For Immediate Release


COVID-19 Information

Phone: 980-432-1800

Vaccine Information

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Rowan County COVID-19 Case Information:

Moving Forward Together: The Next Phase of NC’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response


Two years ago, this month, the first case of COVID-19 was identified in North Carolina. Here in Rowan, we too experienced our first case of COVID-19 at this very same time; and more unfortunately, we also experienced our first county death as a result of this virus.  From the beginning, our state built its response to the global pandemic using the latest available scientific knowledge, real-time data, robust partnerships, and community input, while delivering significant resources to each county within the state. Most importantly, we all  came together to practice the 3 Ws – Wear, Wait, and Wash, while getting vaccinated to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and all of our communities.

The COVID-19 landscape looks quite different today than it did two years ago, and it will continue to evolve. We have definitely learned more about this virus, and we now have several effective tools that reduce the risk for people. 

  • Vaccines and boosters are now widely available and help protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
  • Treatment is also available for those at higher risk of severe disease.
  • Testing kits and personal protective equipment are now widely available, as well. 

As we move forward, the state will no longer provide guidance for most settings, but instead focus on protecting those most vulnerable to serious illness. The state encourages its citizens to make informed decisions by keeping abreast of any new changes in COVID-19 and acting accordingly if there is a spike seen within their community. In addition, NCDHHS will continue to coordinate with the health care community to preserve health care system capacity in the event of future surges, while also ensuring equitable access to important information and tools that will best protect our citizens and state.  

At this time, North Carolina is taking several steps to be prepared should new and more dangerous variants emerge. Their plan focuses on the following: 

  • Increasing vaccination rates and effective treatments to prevent any new threats of reaching hospital capacity. 
  • “A Vial in Every Fridge” strategy to allow easier access to vaccine to as many types of provider offices, as well as pharmacies. 
  • NCDHHS will continue to use state-contracted vendors to provide testing in underserved communities. In addition, they will continue to fund school-based testing, while working with local health departments and community-based organizations to distribute testing supplies. Furthermore, Medicaid and insurance companies are now covering at-home COVID-19 tests, and free at-home tests are also available from the federal government.
  • NCDHHS has also launched a treatment finder to help North Carolinians find a COVID-19 treatment provider near them. There are currently more than 900 locations, statewide, offering at least one of the available COVID-19 treatment options. 
  • While contact tracing has been an important tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19, it is no longer recommended in most settings as we move to disease management. Going forward, NCDHHS and local health departments will prioritize contact tracing for certain high priority settings including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, migrant farm worker housing, and long-term care facilities.

As we strive to reach a level of normalcy, please note that the state will be transitioning to a weekly update instead of a daily report, with updates occurring on Wednesdays. Within these reports, you will see that the state will no longer be focusing on case counts and percent positive as much, since we now know that more people have access to at-home test kits and are not required to report their results. The state will now start focusing more on wastewater surveillance, hospitalization, COVID-like illness reports, the percentage of hospital beds staffed, as well as the CDC Community Level. Even though some data, such as cases and percent positive, will still be available to download, it will not be the main focus of NCDHHS as they move forward.

In closing, we cannot emphasize to you enough about the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted as we work through the  COVID endemic. We ask that everyone please stay up-to-date on their vaccine; for we know that it is the most important piece of preventing hospitalizations and death. Lastly and although we do not want to see this happen, please do not do away with your face masks quite yet. For if we do see a spike in our numbers in the near future, we want everyone to easily be able to mask up so they can protect themselves and their families.



PIO Contact:
Amy Smith

Download Media Release COVID-19 - March 18, 2022 (PDF)

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