Delaware very close to 400 COVID deaths but hospitalizations and share of new positive cases keep falling

DOVER — Delaware sits on the verge of 400 COVID-19 deaths after the state announced eight new fatalities Sunday, bringing the total since the start of the outbreak to 398.

The Division of Public Health said there had been 9,942 confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. Saturday, an increase of 97 from the day before. One hundred three people were hospitalized with the virus, the fewest in two months, with 20 critically ill.

DPH said 5,792 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 9,454 cases, 160 hospitalizations and 366 deaths one week ago and 6,591 cases, 285 hospitalizations and 224 deaths as of the May 10 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 last week, 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 1.03 percent of Delawareans have tested positive for the virus. DPH said there have been 68,997 tests, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending.

Officials hope to be able to test 80,000 people a month in the near future. For information on free testing and contact tracing, key parts of the state’s plan to stamp out the spread of the virus, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing and coronavirus.delaware.gov/contact-tracing.

The most recent deaths involved five men and three women ranging in age from 40 to 91. Two lived in New Castle County, four were from Kent County and two hailed from Sussex County.

Three of the individuals were residents of long-term care facilities, a statement that describes just under two-thirds of all fatalities here.

All eight had underlying health conditions. About 86 percent of the Delaware deaths, or six out of every seven, involved people with prior known health issues.

Of the First State’s positive cases, about 44 percent have involved residents of Sussex even though the southernmost county has just a quarter of the state’s population. However, the percentage of cases stemming from Sussex has been steadily falling for more than a week. At the same time, New Castle’s share has begun to creep up, perhaps owing in part to increased testing there.

Among confirmed cases, New Castle also has seen a higher fatality rate than Sussex: About 4.3 percent of residents of the northernmost county with the virus have died, compared to 3.4 percent in Sussex.

There have been 4,346 cases and 146 deaths involving Sussex, with 4,070 and 176 from New Castle. Kent has seen 1,511 cases and 76 fatalities.

Additionally, the addresses for 15 people who have caught the virus are currently unknown, DPH said.

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.

About 1.1 percent of females in the state have caught the virus, compared to .97 percent of males. There have been 5,479 cases and 211 deaths involving females and 4,445 cases and 187 deaths involving males. Eighteen cases involve people of currently unknown sex.

By race, there have been 2,855 cases and 242 deaths involving non-Hispanic whites, 2,801 cases and 25 deaths involving Hispanics or Latinos, 2,632 cases and 105 deaths involving non-Hispanic blacks, 151 cases and one death involving Asians or Pacific Islanders and 497 cases and four deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 1,006 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.


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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