Carney concerned by Delaware’s rise in virus cases, has no plans for further shutdowns

DOVER — Gov. John Carney again acknowledged Delaware’s COVID-19 numbers are heading the wrong direction, but said there are currently no plans to tighten public restrictions.

Delaware is averaging 139.7 new positive cases per day for its seven-day rolling average. There were an additional 86 new positives reported by the Delaware Division of Public Health, bringing the state’s total positive cases to 21,466 on Tuesday.

The seven-day rolling average for percentage of positive tests is at 8.1% — the highest it has been since July 12.

Hospitalizations are in a similar situation with 87 currently hospitalized (20 considered critical) in Delaware with COVID-19. That is the most since there were 93 hospitalized on June 24.

“It’s concerning and it’s not headed in the right direction,” Gov. Carney said. “Is it to the point where we want to tighten things down like we did the last time with ZIP codes along the beach communities? Not to that extent yet.”

“My message to every Delawarean is if we don’t want to go backwards, let’s follow the guidelines,” Gov. Carney added. “Let’s wear face masks in particular and let’s be careful in public settings.”

The DPH also announced one new COVID-19-related death on Tuesday, increasing the state’s total to 646.

The most recent death was an 82-year-old from New Castle County who was a resident of a long-term care facility and did have an underlying health condition, according to the DPH. Long-term care centers have made up 383 of Delaware’s 646 COVID-19-related deaths (59%).

DPH’s Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said the state is monitoring four outbreaks in long-term care center.

The newest COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care center is at Regal Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Hockessin. There are a combined 14 residents and staff who have tested positive for the virus at that facility, according to the DPH.

The status of the other outbreaks are:

• Kentmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington with 42 residents and 22 staff members infected.

• Cadia Healthcare Silverside in Wilmington which also had 42 residents and 22 staff members infected.

• Country Rest Home in Greenwood with 26 residents and 15 staff members testing positive.

Dr. Rattay said Greenwood has elevated levels of the virus compared to the rest of the state, likely due to the long-term care center outbreak. She added there has been some small upticks in Ellendale as well.

Three current areas of concern, according to Dr. Rattay, are Wilmington, Newark and Western Sussex.

Dr. Rattay said DPH is especially monitoring the 19801, 19802 and 19805 ZIP codes in Wilmington. The outbreak in Newark has leveled off and is mainly attributed to the University of Delaware community who have accounted for 370 positive tests.

In Western Sussex, Dr. Rattay said DPH is looking at an increased rate of spread in Delmar and Laurel.

“We wouldn’t call them hotspots because they’re not hotspots,” Dr. Rattay said. “But they are higher than the rest of the state so we’re keeping a close eye on these areas and taking that multi-faceted Public Health approach to testing and prevention in those areas.”

Additionally, Dr. Rattay announced DPH will have a new option to display percentage of positive tests on its My Healthy Community Dashboard, starting some time this week.

The DPH currently calculates the percentage of positive tests by dividing the number of positives by the number of people tested. The new addition coming this week will show the percentage as number of positive tests by the total tests done. This is the method used by the Center for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins.

As of Monday at 6 p.m., the state has done a total of 466,266 tests and has tested 297,513 people. Delaware’s percent positive rate will decrease when done by this method.

There will be an option to toggle between both methods.

“Both show a pretty similar curve,” Dr. Rattay said. “Both were very high in the spring time, went down, went back up during the beach outbreak, went back down and they’re both on the increase again as we’re seeing more community spread during this time.”

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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