Delaware’s COVID hospitalizations and cases continue to rise

DOVER — Delaware’s COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and seven-day rolling average of percentage of positive tests rose to numbers not seen in months on Thursday.

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) reported 78 individuals hospitalized with the virus — an increase of six compared to the previous day. The last time there were 78 COVID-19 hospitalizations was June 27.

Seventeen of the current hospitalizations are considered critical, according to the DPH.

There were 156 new positive COVID-19 cases announced by the DPH on Thursday — the most daily cases since there were 181 on July 12. This increases Delaware’s total number of positive cases to 20,787. All numbers via the DPH reflect data as of Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of percentage of positive tests is at 8% for the first time since July 12, The statistic has been on the rise since the start of September when it was 4.8%, under the World Health Organization’s recommended mark of 5%.

The increase on Thursday was mostly centered in New Castle County with its new tests registering a 9.6% positive rate to increase its seven-day rolling average to 9.1% which is the county’s highest mark since June 2. New Castle County also posted 131 new cases which is the most since May 3.

Sussex County is also experiencing some increases with 10.7% for its percentage of positive tests in the new data released Thursday, raising its seven-day rolling average to 6.6%.

Kent County has stayed consistent over the last several weeks and has a seven-day rolling average of 5.2% for its percentage of positive tests.

There were no new COVID-19 related deaths to report Thursday as the number remained at 636. There were also 26 additional recoveries from the virus, bringing that total to 10,648 while 1,481 people tested negative, upping that total to 267,430.

Also on Thursday, Gov. John Carney, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) announced the COVID Alert DE app will expand its reach to New York and New Jersey. Both states launched their versions of the exposure notification apps — COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ — on Thursday.

Delaware’s app is already inter-operable with COVID Alert PA in Pennsylvania. Users should download the application in the state where they are currently living. The exposure notification apps are built on Bluetooth technology and is available in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

“More than 33,000 Delawareans have signed up to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by downloading COVID Alert DE,” said Gov. Carney in a statement. “With our partners in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, Delawareans now have another tool to help slow the spread, especially if they travel in the Mid-Atlantic region for work or to visit family.”

Any Delawarean with the COVID Alert DE app will receive an anonymous exposure notification alert if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive individual in New York or New Jersey who is using either of those states’ apps. Residents of Pennsylvania, which launched its app last week, are also part of this exposure notification network.

“With this enhanced network, the more Delaware residents who are aware of their potential exposure to COVID-19, the more likely we are to keep transmission rates low, protect people’s lives and keep our economy and educational system moving forward,” said Molly Magarik, secretary of the DHSS. “One thing to remember: Please download the app of the state in which you are currently living and where you expect to be tested for COVID-19, if needed.”

The DHSS reminds the public the app is not a substitute for basic public health precautionary measures — including mask-wearing, social distancing in public, and frequent handwashing. Additionally, those who have the app are still asked to speak with contact tracers from the Division of Public Health if contacted.

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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