DPH announces one COVID-19 death, 73 new cases

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced one new COVID-19 related death in its daily report on Wednesday.

The DPH said the death was a 54-year-old Kent County resident who had underlying health conditions. It increased Delaware’s COVID-19 death toll to 592.

It was the second COVID-19 related death this week for Kent County, which has seen 109 deaths related to the virus. That number of deaths is still last among counties in Delaware as New Castle has had 291 and Sussex 192.

There were an additional 73 positive COVID-19 cases announced by the DPH Wednesday, bringing the total to 15,765.

The percentage of positive tests for Wednesday’s data was 5.9% — the highest it’s been since July 10. The seven-day rolling average of percentage of positive tests increased to 4%, which is still below the World Health Organization’s recommended mark of 5%.

Current COVID-19 related hospitalizations in Delaware increased by three to 38 with 15 considered critical. There were also 32 recoveries, increasing that total to 8,551, and 1,187 people who tested negative for the virus, bringing the total to 187,688, according to the DPH.

Also on Wednesday, the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) announced 98% of Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) inmates, who tested positive one month ago when a COVID-19 outbreak was discovered, are recovered and normal operations are resuming.

Only four inmates across Delaware’s correctional system, all from SCI, still have the virus, according to the DOC.

“DOC and our medical professionals have demonstrated that we can effectively stop the spread of COVID-19 by comprehensive testing, immediate isolation and treatment of infected inmates, with ongoing screening and cleanings,” DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement. “With no new COVID-positive cases in two weeks, we are resuming normal operations at SCI. Inmates have access to outside recreational time, substance abuse treatment, counseling services, commissary, and routine medical care.”

The DOC said recoveries are marked when an inmate has demonstrated no symptoms of illness for 14 days, consistent with CDC guidance. The DOC added it is exceeding Center for Disease Control guidelines by continuing to isolate recovered inmates in a COVID-19 “step-down” housing unit while follow-up testing is conducted. Recovered inmates must receive two consecutive negative test results before returning to the general inmate population, according to the DOC.

Three of the four inmates have been transferred to the COVID-19 Treatment Center at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. The other inmate remains hospitalized but is not on a ventilator, according to the DOC

The DOC also announced it began installing video tablets at SCI this week as part of its system-wide initiative expand inmate video visitation and programming. Meanwhile, every inmate at SCI continues to receive two free five-minute phone calls each week to keep in touch with family and community supports while in-person visitation remains temporarily suspended, the DOC said.

The DOC said it plans to resume in-person visitation at all DOC facilities on Sept. 1.

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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