COVID deaths near 400 but more people keep recovering

DOVER — Delaware announced just two more COVID-related deaths on Saturday, bringing the total over the past 12 weeks to 390.

The Division of Public Health said there had been 9,845 confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. Friday, an increase of 72 from the day before. One hundred seventeen people were hospitalized with the virus, the lowest level in two months, with 24 critically ill.

DPH said 5,696 people have recovered, meaning they’ve gone a week without symptoms. The remaining 42 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 9,386 cases, 174 hospitalizations and 361 deaths one week ago and 6,472 cases, 288 hospitalizations and 221 deaths as of the May 9 update, four weeks before the latest data.

Total hospitalizations and the percentage of new positive tests are trending downward, prompting Delaware to take steps toward reopening. Many businesses were allowed to open with strict limits Monday, and more restrictions will be waived in the coming weeks.

Still, officials warn the virus is not beaten yet, urging Delawareans to continue social distancing and wearing face coverings in public.

So far, about 1.02 percent of Delawareans have tested positive for the virus. DPH said there have been 67,635 tests, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending. The state hopes to be able to test 80,000 people a month in the near future.

The most recent deaths involved two women, one 62 and one 92. One lived in New Castle County while the other was from Kent County. Both were residents of long-term care facilities, a statement that describes just under two-thirds of all fatalities here.

Each woman had underlying health conditions, as have about 86 percent of all Delawareans who died from the virus.

Of Delaware’s positive cases, about 44 percent have involved residents of Sussex County even though the southernmost county has just a quarter of the state’s population. However, the spread appears to have slowed there, owing in large part to concerted efforts to stamp it out.

There have been 4,342 cases and 144 deaths involving Sussex, with 3,995 and 174 involving New Castle. Kent has seen 1,496 cases and 72 fatalities.

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

It’s unclear why New Castle has had more fatalities despite the fact Sussex residents have been more than three times more likely to test positive so far.

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 percent of deaths involved people younger than 50 even though 58 percent of Delawareans who have caught the virus fit that description. Eighty percent of deaths involved people 65 or older.

There have been 5,433 cases and 208 deaths involving females and 4,394 cases and 182 deaths involving males. Eighteen cases involve people of currently unknown sex.

By race, there have been 2,839 cases and 238 deaths involving non-Hispanic whites, 2,777 cases and 24 deaths involving Hispanics or Latinos, 2,611 cases and 102 deaths involving non-Hispanic blacks, 150 cases and one death involving Asians or Pacific Islanders and 490 cases and four deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 978 instances and 21 deaths, race is unknown.

Adjusted for population size, whites in Delaware are more than seven times less likely than Hispanics and almost three times less likely than blacks to have COVID-19. However, although whites, blacks and Hispanics each represent a little more than a quarter of the coronavirus cases here, whites make up 61 percent of fatalities, while blacks are 26 percent and Hispanics account for just 6 percent.

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.

For information on contact tracing and free testing, key parts of the state’s plan to stamp out the spread of the virus, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/contact-tracing/ and coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing.


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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