Carney concerned over growing percentage of positive virus tests in Delaware

WILMINGTON — Delaware’s percentage of positive COVID-19 tests continues to climb to levels not seen since the middle of the summer.

The seven-day rolling average of percentage of positive tests is now at 7.1% — the highest it has been since July 13, according to updated numbers released by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) on Tuesday.

“That’s not a good thing,” Gov. John Carney said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

The seven-day rolling average has risen from 4.7% one week ago to the current level of 7.1%, which reflects data as of Monday at 6 p.m. The World Health Organization’s recommended mark is 5% and Delaware is requiring a 3.% mark before schools can allow full in-person learning.

“This is the most concerning here,” Gov. Carney said. “As we’ve been saying for months now, our World Health Organization target is 5%, we’ve been comfortably below that. Our green scenario for going back to school is 3% so we’re moving away from that.”

The DPH also announced one new COVID-19-related death on Tuesday, upping the state’s death toll to 618.

The DPH said it was a 73-year-old Sussex County woman. The individual did not have an underlying health condition, nor was she a resident of a long-term care facility, according to the DPH.

COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased by three compared to the day prior to 61, including 20 listed as critical. The DPH added 74 more recoveries to lift that total to 10,165 while 1,575 more people tested negative, raising that total to 245,022.

There were 88 new positive cases in Delaware as of Monday at 6 p.m., increasing the state’s total number of positive cases to 19,137.

Delaware also remained on the 14-day quarantine list for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut for the second week in a row.

Gov. Carney attributed the recent rise in the percent-positive rate to two things — an increase in cases as colleges start getting back in session and a lower number of people getting tested.

Gov. Carney said his main concern with the college-age demographic is off-campus parties.

“They need to be more attentive to following the rules and protecting one another, quite frankly,” Gov. Carney said. “Mostly it’s off-campus social activities, partying, anybody who’s been to college knows what I’m talking about, but difficult to change that behavior. But it’s something that we really need to do and lean into.”

“It’s not just about you and your party and your 20 friends, or 30 or 40 friends,” Gov. Carney added. “It’s about the community.”

With declining testing numbers as well, Gov. Carney said the usual number of negative tests aren’t there to add to the denominator for total tests done, which is part of the reason for the rise in the percent-positive rate.

In an effort to encourage more testing ,the state announced a shift to fixed testing locations late last week. This list of 19 sites includes Walgreens, service centers and Public Health clinics.

A full lists of testing sites can be found at de.gov/gettested.

A.J. Schall, director of Delaware Emergency Management Agency, said the state will still have some pop-up sites but the fixed testing sites will hopefully make things more convenient for those looking for a test.

“We have longer hours, consistent places,” Mr. Schall said. “So this takes away the gear of somebody that wants to get tested on Monday, but there’s not a community event that’s coming until Thursday or Friday. There should be something that they can get to sooner rather than waiting until something pops up in their backyard.”


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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