Delaware reaches record 338 COVID-related hospitalizations

WILMINGTON — The number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in Delaware reached an all-time high on Tuesday.

There are currently 338 COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout the state, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health’s daily report. The report reflects data as of Monday at 6 p.m.

Hospitalizations rose by 16 compared to the previous day’s total while 41 of the cases are considered critical. The new total of 338 surpassed the previous high of 337, which was set in the spring on April 27.

“Those hospitalization numbers are as real as real can be,” said Gov. John Carney Tuesday at his weekly COVID-19 press briefing. “They’re there. They’re present in the hospitals. It’s not a hoax. This is real, and it’s serious.”

Delaware’s hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients fluctuates around 400 to 500 beds, depending on the day, Gov. Carney said. Some variables which determine this are what other patients are in the hospitals at any given time and for what reasons.

“The worst case scenario we don’t want is to be in a position where we’re rationing hospital capacity,” Gov. Carney said. “We’ve engaged the hospitals. They have been very receptive to our assistance and have shared information on what is happening in their facilities.”

State officials have said the primary concern for hospitals are not the number of beds available but the number of staff available and reiterated this message Tuesday. Staffing has been limited due to quarantines if a staff member is exposed to the virus.

Some things the state is doing to help hospitals are in regards to non-COVID-19 patients to free up space, such allowing hospitals to release patients early when possible and making decisions on which procedures can be pushed back.

A.J. Schall, Delaware Emergency Management Agency director, said the state is taking a more micro-level approach, but they do have a team of National Guard members ready if it needs to create more hospital space. The state would prefer not to pull a National Guard member away from their medical professional day job unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“We don’t want to be robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Mr. Schall said. “We don’t want to be taking somebody out of a clinic, an emergency room or a hospital right now as a civilian and put them on order.”

The state has an arrangement with Nemours in Wilmington to create additional bed space there and Bayhealth’s new facility in Milford can open some portions for surge capacity. Gov. Carney said the state has an agreement with Genesis HealthCare to take patients from hospitals who test negative from the virus. Bayhealth has already released some to Genesis’ Milford location to open up space.

The good news, according to state officials, is thanks to advances in treatment, such as FDA-approved treatments used early in the course of illness and the benefits of steroids, hospitals require fewer people to be placed in the ICU or on a ventilator due to COVID-19.

“Nonetheless we have far too many people are who too sick and who are succumbing to this illness than is acceptable to us,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

The DPH reported 10 new COVID-19-related deaths, six from Kent County, to bring the state’s total to 803. Of the other four deaths, three were from New Castle County and one was a Sussex County resident.

New Castle County has posted the most COVID-19-related deaths with 395, followed by Sussex County’s 269 and Kent County’s 139.

All 10 of the newly reported deaths were individuals with underlying health conditions, the DPH said. Four of the 10 were residents of a long-term care facility, bringing the total number of long-term care deaths to 448. The most recent deaths ranged in age from 62 to 98 years old.

There were 705 new positive cases of the virus in Tuesday’s report as the state’s total increased to 41,464. Delaware is averaging an all-time high of 730 new positive cases per day in its seven-day rolling average.

The seven-day rolling average for percentage of positive tests is up to 9.8%, which is as of Saturday at 6 p.m. due to a two-day lag for presenting that data to account for the time delay between the date of the test and the date the DPH receives the test result.

For the most recent day of available data, Saturday, there were 655 positive tests out of a total of 6,620 tests processed for a percent-positive mark of 9.9%.

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com.

Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.


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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