As COVID-19 total nears 7,000, Delaware announces first expanded testing event

DOVER — Delaware’s coronavirus count jumped by 211 in the latest update, bringing the total to 6,952, the Division of Public Health said Wednesday. With 10 new deaths, the state has now seen 247 fatalities related to COVID-19.

According to DPH, 282 people were hospitalized, with 55 critically ill, as of 6 p.m. Tuesday. In all, 2,942 Delawareans have recovered, meaning they’ve gone a week without symptoms.

Nearly 48 percent of the cases have involved residents of Sussex County, even though the southernmost county has just 24 percent of the state’s population. Keeping with the pattern, the bulk of the most recent cases come from Sussex.

In all, Sussex has seen 3,336 total cases and 99 deaths, while there have been 2,496 cases and 102 deaths involving New Castle County and 1,084 and 45 involving Kent County. The addresses for 36 people with the virus and one who died from it have not yet been identified.

The outbreak has been particularly severe in the greater Georgetown area, with 4.8 percent of people in the 19947 ZIP code testing positive.

Delaware’s first official coronavirus case was announced March 11. There were 5,938 cases and 193 deaths one week ago.

As of April 14, four weeks before the latest data, there were 2,026 cases and 43 deaths.

About .7 percent of Delawareans, or seven people for every 1,000 individuals in the state, have tested positive for the virus.

The most recent deaths involved three women and seven men ranging from 55 to 91 years old. Six lived in Sussex, two lived in New Castle and two lived in Kent.

All 10 had underlying health conditions, and five were in long-term care facilities, according to DPH.

DPH also said Wednesday the first free testing event under the expanded statewide program will take place Thursday from 10 to 2 in Seaford. Hosted by Nanticoke Health Services, it will be held at Frederick Douglass Elementary School, located at 1 Swain Road.

Pre-registration at http://delaware.curativeinc.com is recommended, but on-site registration will be available.

Because the tests are saliva-based, individuals are asked not to eat or drink or brush their teeth for at least 20 minutes before they get tested.

As additional testing sites are scheduled, more information be provided on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus website at coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/.

Officials recently announced they are aiming to test 80,000 Delawareans a month, thanks in part to the purchase of 200,000 kits from a private company and partnerships with health care providers and community organizations.

More COVID-19 data

In addition to county of residence, the coronavirus totals can be broken down by age, sex and race.

Statewide, Delawareans who have had confirmed cases range in age from less than a year old to 103, with deaths involving people from 22 to 103, according to DPH.

Of the 247 deaths, 200 came in individuals 65 or older, with just 13 involving people younger than 50.

There have been 3,795 cases and 129 deaths involving females and 3,135 cases and 118 deaths involving males. Twenty-two cases involve people of currently unknown sex.

By race, there have been 1,932 cases and 63 deaths involving non-Hispanic blacks, 1,873 cases and 145 deaths involving non-Hispanic whites, 1,866 cases and 18 deaths involving Hispanics or Latinos, 106 cases and one death involving Asians or Pacific Islanders and 287 cases and three deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 788 instances and 17 deaths, race is unknown.

Adjusted for population size, whites in Delaware are more than seven times less likely than Hispanics and three times less likely than blacks to have COVID-19.

There have been 34,753 total tests, DPH said, although it cautions the figure is preliminary and should not be used as a substitute for the overall number of Delawareans who have been tested.

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

Based on guidance from the CDC, Delaware is counting deaths of individuals with laboratory-confirmed cases and people who had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and exposed but never tested.

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

As usual, the agency did not release additional details about the cases Wednesday, citing health privacy laws.

Department of Correction update

The Correction Department said Wednesday two more inmates from the James. T. Vaughn Correctional Center died from issues related to the coronavirus. Both had pre-existing conditions.

Sixty-nine-year-old Richard Roth’s death was from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and hypertension, in addition to COVID-19, per the department. He had been in prison since 1999 and was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy. He tested positive for the virus on April 29 and was admitted to Bayhealth’s Kent County hospital on May 1.

Peter Schellinger, 64, died from complications stemming from chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and COVID-19. He had been in prison since 1998 and was serving two life sentences for first-degree murder. He tested positive May 4 and was taken to Bayhealth the next day. The department said he had declined recommended treatment for a life-threatening underlying chronic condition and was receiving hospice care at the time of his death.

The agency also said 57 inmates have now recovered. So far, 139 inmates and 85 employees have tested positive for the virus, with most either stationed or imprisoned at Vaughn.

“Throughout our correctional system, 115 inmates have either recovered or are asymptomatic of illness, leaving only 16 inmates from only one facility who are currently experiencing any symptoms,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement. “Across the country, even after communities successfully bend the curve by reducing new cases and growing recoveries, they have seen that a small percentage of seriously ill COVID patients who are hospitalized with complications from underlying health conditions face growing odds over time that they will not recover, even with the most responsive medical care.

“We are saddened by today’s deaths of two seriously ill inmates who had been hospitalized for several days. Medical staff are administering aggressive treatment to give our four hospitalized COVID inmate patients the best chance of recovery.”

As a precaution, face masks are being worn by all employees and more than half the inmates, according to the agency.


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 1 guidance

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