Areas of COVID concern grow in Delaware

WILMINGTON — Amid elevated case rates of COVID-19, the Delaware Division of Public Health’s list of areas they are monitoring for outbreaks has grown.

Downstate, the DPH listed Milford, Lincoln, Bridgeville, Seaford, Laurel, Delmar, Lewes, Harbeson, Frankford and Selbyville as areas of concern. It is also monitoring higher rates than usual farther north in Smyrna, Townsend and Viola.

Sussex County has the highest positivity rates with a seven-day rolling average of 5.3% for percentage of positive tests. It’s seven-day rolling average for percentage of persons testing positive, where each person is only counted once regardless of how many times they have been tested, is at 12.6%.

“That’s concerning because these towns and areas of the state also have lower numbers of people who are coming out to testing events,” said Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services Molly Magarik Tuesday. “We think due to that, we probably are undercounting the number of positive cases. We urge people in these towns to take advantage of the many free and easy test sites available.”

The DPH also said during the state’s weekly COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, the 19806 ZIP code in Wilmington has shown the highest rate of new cases in New Castle County this week. Ms. Magarik said this is likely due to outbreaks at long-term care centers in this ZIP Code.

For the week of Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, Sussex County produced the highest new case rate per 100,000 people of the state’s three counties with a mark of 140.9, more than New Castle County’s 106.7 and Kent County’s 87.4.

“Most of it is in Sussex County,” Gov. John Carney said. “We need to get the message out in Sussex County to make sure folks are being careful at private social gatherings and wearing face masks, keeping social distance, avoiding large crowds where that’s not taking place and really just taking all this Public Health guidance seriously because when you’re wearing a mask, you’re protecting your neighbor more than yourself.”

“We’re not getting as many people to our testing sites in Sussex County,” Gov. Carney added. “So you’re going to have much higher percent positive down there but you’re also not getting the kind of surveillance testing that you’d like. So to all our neighbors in Sussex County, make sure you know your COVID-19 status and go out and visit one of our testing sites.”

For a full list of COVID-19 testing sites in Delaware, visit de.gov/gettested.

Sussex County also leads the state in current COVID-19 hospitalizations, making up more than half of them.

There are 57 individuals currently hospitalized in Sussex County with COVID-19, 46 in New Castle County and four in Kent County for a total of 107. Gov. Carney pointed out Sussex County’s number of 57 is more than the total number of hospitalizations the state had 90 days ago.

“We need to be mindful of the fact that our capacity in the hospitals in Sussex County is not what it is in the northern part of our state,” Gov. Carney said. “We’re still not threatening that capacity but we just don’t want to see those numbers get worse obviously. They’re lagging indicators so as we have higher numbers of positive cases, we’ll see more hospitalizations and sadly the longest lagging indicator is fatalities.”

The DPH reported two more COVID-19-related deaths Tuesday, pushing the state’s total to 712. One of the most recent deaths was from New Castle County while the other was a Kent County resident.

The two most recent deceased persons were 80 and 83 years old. Both individuals had underlying health conditions, according to the DPH, and neither was a resident of a long-term care facility.

There were 107 new positive cases of the virus in the DPH’s daily report Tuesday, bringing the total number of positives to 25,426. All numbers via the DPH reflect data as of 6 p.m. Monday.


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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