Governor extends state of emergency amid outbreaks at long-term care centers

DOVER — Amid rising numbers throughout the state and three separate outbreaks at long-term care centers, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced six COVID-19 related deaths on Friday.

Of the six deaths, five were new while the other was found through a routine review of death certificates, the DPH said. It increases the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 642.

The DPH reported five of the new deaths came from New Castle County and one was from Kent County. New Castle County, the state’s most populous county, has experienced the most COVID-19 related deaths with 317, followed by Sussex County’s 207 and Kent County’s 118.

The six newly reported deaths ranged from ages 60-94-years-old and two had an underlying health condition, according to the DPH. Four of the six were residents of a long-term care facility.

Long-term care centers have made up 380 of Delawares 642 COVID-19 related deaths (59%). All numbers via the DPH reflect data as of 6 p.m. Thursday.

The DPH said it is still monitoring three outbreaks at long-term care centers throughout the state. The three facilities are:

• Kentmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington with 46 residents and 27 staff members positive.

• Cadia Healthcare Silverside in Wilmington with 41 residents and less than 20 staff members positive.

• Country Rest Home in Greenwood with 26 residents and 15 staff members positive.

The DPH clarified “staff members may include health care and non-health care personnel, such as facility vendors or other individuals working in the long-term care facility who may not be full-time facility employees.”

The DPH reported some long-term care facilities are utilizing point-of-care antigen testing to test residents. The DPH said it has become aware of occurrences of false positive results from some antigen tests.

“Therefore DPH has provided guidance to these facilities, requesting that any patient (staff member or resident) from a long-term care facility who has a positive result with antigen testing have an additional specimen collected and sent for priority processing at the Delaware Public Health Laboratory,” the DPH said in a statement. “If confirmatory testing leads to a decrease in the total number of positive cases identified at facilities with significant outbreaks, DPH will provide an update on the above statistics. It is important to note, however, this does not change the fact that significant outbreaks are occurring in these facilities, nor does it change the additional infection control measures the facilities have implemented, after consultation with DPH, as part of the outbreak response.”

Statewide, the DPH reported 83 individuals who are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Delaware — a 57% increase compared to 53 hospitalizations one week ago.

The 83 current hospitalizations are the most the state has had since June 26. Of those currently hospitalized, 16 are considered critically ill, according to the DPH.

The seven-day rolling average for the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests increased from 6.8% to 7.9% over the last seven days. For reference, the World Health Organization recommends a seven-day rolling average of 5%.

The DPH also announced 146 new positive cases, bringing the states total to 20,937. The total amount of cases by county is led by New Castle County with 10,813 cases, then Sussex County with 6,913, Kent County with 3,121 and 90 cases where the county is not yet known.

The statistics by county were adjusted Friday after a data quality enhancement was put in place by the DPH to determine the county of residence for cases in which the county was previously unknown. As a result, the DPH resolved the location of about 400 cases.

An additional 30 individuals are now listed as recovered from COVID-19 to bring the total number of recoveries to 10,678. The DPH also reported 1,916 new negative tests, raising that total to 269,346.

Also on Friday, Gov. John Carney formally extended the state of emergency declaration another 30 days to confront community spread of COVID-19, and issued the following statement:

“We remain committed to getting more children in school, and more Delawareans back to work. To do that, we need Delawareans to stay vigilant, and follow the public health precautions to prevent the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and avoid large gatherings. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Keep your distance from others outside your household. We’re beating COVID-19, but this fight isn’t over. Let’s not erase the progress we’ve made.”

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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