Four more coronavirus deaths bring Delaware’s total to 23

DOVER — Delaware saw four more deaths from the coronavirus Thursday, bringing the total to 23. An additional 93 laboratory-confirmed cases were announced by the Division of Public Health, a total that includes 173 individuals considered to have recovered.

In all, 1,209 cases involving Delawareans have been reported, a rise from Wednesday’s 1,116 but slightly less than half that day’s increase.

There are 201 people hospitalized, with 43 critically ill.

The most recent deaths involve an 82-year-old man from New Castle County who was in a long-term care facility, a 66-year-old man from Sussex County, a 63-year-old woman from New Castle and a 57-year-old man from Sussex. All had underlying health conditions.

Previously, no one younger than 66 had died from the coronavirus in Delaware, according to DPH.

Ten of the deaths have been related to nursing homes, including six at Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence in Newark. A total of 51 individuals from nursing homes have tested positive for COVID-19, per DPH.

The 173 recoveries all involve people who have been without symptoms for at least a week, which DPH uses as an indicator of when the virus has passed.

Delaware is entering into its roughest period to date, with officials warning the state could see more than 3,000 cases by the middle of next week. That prediction, shared Thursday by state officials, is slightly more optimistic than the prior forecast, which had the count surpassing 3,000 Sunday.

The most recent estimate has about 565 people being hospitalized by Tuesday.

The state’s first laboratory-confirmed case was announced March 11, with the first official death coming 15 days later. There were 393 cases one week ago and 143 one week before that.

The caseload was less than 100 as recently as March 24, with 87.

Of the 1,209 COVID-19 cases, both current and inactive, there are 701 involving residents of New Castle County, 294 involving people living in Sussex County and 214 involving Kent Countians.

As of Thursday, there had been 8,683 negative test results, 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 agency said this week because of volume the hospitalization and critically ill numbers now include non-Delawareans, although all other totals are just Delaware residents.

The state will soon begin collecting information on the race of coronavirus patients. As reports come from around the country of minorities being disproportionately affected by the virus, a top state health official said Thursday the First State is now mandating samples for COVID-19 testing include race with the other demographic data, such as age and gender.

Karyl Rattay
(Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Doing so, DPH Director Karyl Rattay said in a briefing streamed online, is critically important, as it allows the state to better target its response.
DPH does have data on the 19 individuals who had died as of Wednesday: 16 were white, and the rest were black, Dr. Rattay said.

State officials cautioned Delawareans on Thursday to continue social distancing, warning the spread is intensifying even as the latest forecast brought some positive news in the former of lower estimates.

On Wednesday, the state officially recommended people wear cloth face coverings in public places “where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” such as supermarkets. Medical masks should not be used, as they are badly needed by health care professionals.

Masks are not a substitute for good hygiene and social distancing practices, officials emphasized Thursday, with Gov. Carney an avid football fan, showing his own Eagles face covering.

The Department of Correction announced Thursday three more correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19. Nine COs, one probation and parole officer, three contracted health care workers and two inmates have tested positive, per the agency.

Delaware has been in a state of emergency since March 12, and the governor issued a stay-at-home order and closed non-essential businesses starting March 22.

While the elderly and those with serious health conditions, especially heart disease, lung issues, diabetes, severe obesity or a compromised immune system are most at risk from COVID-19, officials say everyone needs to avoid contact with others.

Anyone who believes he or she may be sick should not go out except for medical appointments and should contact a primary care provider before heading to the emergency room or an urgent care center. A person experiencing a medical emergency such as significant trouble breathing should call 911.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. People who are sick with any of those and need essential supplies should ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy instead. They also are urged not to go to work.

Most people recover from COVID-19 with rest and hydration, although illness can be severe.

Statewide testing at standing health facility sites is under way for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. Those without a primary care provider can contact DPH at 1-866-408-1899, but individuals should not just walk in. Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first.

DPH this week launched a partnership with the United Way of Delaware to triage incoming calls related to COVID-19. Anyone with a question about the virus should dial Delaware 2-1-1 (7-1-1 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing) or text their ZIP code to 898-211.

The service can connect Delawareans with all sorts of assistance, including employment, mental health, food and housing.

In addition, the Division of Public Health asks any health care, long-term care, residential or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns to email DPH_PAC@delaware.gov or call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 and press ext. 2.

Health-related questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov. 

For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.


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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