After no new COVID deaths in prior update, Delaware announces 12, bringing total over 400

DOVER — One day after announcing no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in two months, the state said 12 more residents have died from the virus.

According to the Division of Public Health, Delaware was at 410 fatalities as of 6 p.m. Monday. The state has also surpassed the 10,000-case barrier, with 48 more bringing the total to 10,020.

The news comes as the state moves further toward reopening. Phase 2 will officially begin Monday, with capacity limits for many businesses being raised from 30 to 60%. Additionally, the ceiling for indoor gatherings will increase from 10 to 50 attendees, and child care services will once again be available to all Delawareans after officials previously limited daycare and related programs to essential workers only.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 250 are allowed, although people can seek waivers from the state to hold larger events. Social distancing and wearing face coverings remain mandatory.

Personal care entities like hair salons, tattoo shops and massage therapy were allowed to open their doors this past Monday.

Delaware plans to release guidelines on sports on Friday. Competitions will be able to take place soon, although football, hockey, wrestling and rugby will remain prohibited. Additionally, tournaments involving more than two teams will not be allowed yet.

Tournaments are set to be approved for Phase 3, which could start in less than three weeks.

Still, sports, especially ones involving some form of contact (which is most of them), remain risky because “they by nature violate social distancing rules,” DPH Director Karyl Rattay said Tuesday during a news conference on the virus.

Although some states have seen recent upticks in cases, new hospitalizations and percentage of tests coming back positive are trending downward here.

As of the latest update, 108 people were hospitalized, among the fewest since early April. Twenty-one of those individuals were critically ill.

Per DPH, 5,888 people have recovered, meaning they’ve gone a week without symptoms. The other 41 percent of Delawareans who have contracted COVID-19 are either currently dealing with it or are now deceased.

The state announced its first case March 11. There were 9,642 cases, 157 hospitalizations and 373 deaths one week ago and 7,202 cases, 276 hospitalizations and 237 deaths as of the May 12 update, four weeks before the latest data.

As Delaware reopens, officials are focusing on widespread free testing, with hopes of screening 80,000 people a month in the near future. For information on testing and contact tracing, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing and coronavirus.delaware.gov/contact-tracing.

“I can’t say this often enough: We’re moving from a period of time where we’re managing by statewide shutdown orders and stay-at-home orders. … Now we’re going to be intensely testing, identifying positive cases and isolating those individuals, testing their contacts, same thing, and managing the spread on an individual basis,” Gov. John Carney said Tuesday.

So far, about 1.04 percent of Delawareans have tested positive for the virus. DPH said there have been 70,753 tests, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending.

Sussex County residents are more than twice as likely as those living in New Castle or Kent counties to catch the virus, although the fatality rate is lower in the southernmost county. At one point, nearly half the cases in the state were from Sussex, though that’s now down to about 44%.

The high prevalence in Sussex reflects not just the spread of the virus there but also the increased testing in the county. In recent weeks, New Castle’s share has begun to creep up, owing in part to more testing in the northernmost county.

There have been 4,361 cases and 149 deaths involving residents of Sussex, 4,125 and 185 involving people from New Castle and 1,522 and 76 involving Kent natives.

Additionally, the addresses for 12 people who have caught the virus are currently unknown, DPH said.

The deaths announced Tuesday involved seven women and five men ranging in age from 30 to 100. Nine lived in New Castle, while three were from Sussex.

Nine of the 12 were residents of long-term care facilities, a statement that describes almost two-thirds of the fatalities here.

About 14% of the Delaware deaths, or one out of every seven, involved people with no prior known health issues, including one of the most recent 12.

Delawareans who have had confirmed cases range in age from less than a year old to 103, with deaths involving people from 21 to 103. Just 6% of deaths involved people younger than 50 even though 58% of Delawareans who have caught the virus fit that description. Eighty percent of deaths involved people 65 or older.

About 1.1% of females in the state have caught the virus, compared to .97 percent of males. There have been 5,529 cases and 218 deaths involving females and 4,473 cases and 192 deaths involving males. Eighteen cases have involved people of currently unknown sex.

By race, there have been 2,887 cases and 250 deaths involving non-Hispanic whites, 2,850 cases and 27 deaths involving Hispanics or Latinos, 2,664 cases and 107 deaths involving non-Hispanic blacks, 154 cases and one death involving Asians or Pacific Islanders and 497 cases and four deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 968 instances and 21 deaths, race is unknown.

Adjusted for population size, white people in Delaware are more than seven times less likely than Hispanics and almost three times less likely than black people to have COVID-19. However, although white, black and Hispanic Delawareans each represent a little more than a quarter of the coronavirus cases here, white people make up 61% of fatalities, while black people are 26% and Hispanics account for just 7%.

DPH has stopped offering information on specific deaths and is providing updated statistics on nursing home cases only on Fridays.

Based on guidance from the federal government, Delaware is counting deaths of individuals with laboratory-confirmed cases and people who had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and were exposed but never tested. Individuals who tests show previously had the virus but no longer do are not counted in the cumulative total.

Because of volume, the hospitalization statistics now include non-Delawareans, although all other totals are just Delaware residents, according to DPH.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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