More positive signs in COVID update as state prepares to open beaches

DOVER — Delaware announced seven more COVID-19 deaths and 192 new cases Wednesday. It now sits at 317 fatalities and 8,386 total positive cases.

The Division of Public Health said 220 people were hospitalized, with 39 critically ill, as of 6 p.m. Wednesday. Per DPH, 4,130 Delawareans are considered recovered, meaning they’ve gone a week without symptoms.

Delaware’s first official coronavirus case was announced March 11. There were 7,339 cases, 273 hospitalizations and 260 deaths one week ago and 3,414 cases, 290 hospitalizations and 92 deaths as of April 22, four weeks before the latest data.

With trends like new hospitalizations and percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 heading in the right direction, Gov. John Carney has loosened some restrictions and announced plans to ease up on other limits, such as opening the beaches today at 5 p.m.

Beachgoers must still social distance and when on the boardwalk must wear a mask. Out-of-state residents are only allowed if they have already quarantined in Delaware for two weeks.

Anyone with complaints about out-of-state individuals violating the state of emergency order or public gathering restriction should contact state or local law enforcement. Concerns that a business may be violating operating restrictions should be directed to HSPContact@delaware.gov, while questions related to business operations should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov.

So far, about 0.87 percent of Delawareans, or 87 people for every 10,000 residents, have tested positive for the virus. DPH said there have been 47,542 tests, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending.

The most recent deaths involve five men and two women ranging in age from 62 to 88. Six lived in New Castle County and one lived in Sussex County.

Six were residents of long-term care facilities, a classification that covers almost two-thirds of the deceased Delawareans.

Despite having just 24 percent of the state’s population, Sussex has seen 48 percent of its COVID-19 cases. The southernmost county has 4,006 total cases and 117 deaths, compared to 3,053 and 144 in the more populous New Castle. There have been 1,281 cases and 55 deaths involving Kent County.

Additionally, the addresses for 46 people with the virus, including one who died, have not yet been identified.

The outbreak has been particularly severe in the greater Georgetown area: About 14.1 percent of people in the 19947 ZIP code have been tested, and 5.5 percent of residents there have had confirmed coronavirus cases.

Sixty of the 317 Delawareans to die from the virus had no underlying health conditions.

Statewide, 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, according to DPH.

Seventy-nine percent of deaths occurred in individuals 65 or older even though they represent just 19 percent of cases. Fifty-eight percent of Delawareans who have caught the virus are younger than 50, yet just 6 percent of deaths involve this age group.

There have been 4,598 cases and 163 deaths involving females and 3,757 cases and 154 deaths involving males. Thirty-one cases involved people of currently unknown sex.

By race, there have been 2,386 cases and 193 deaths involving non-Hispanic whites, 2,310 cases and 22 deaths involving Hispanics or Latinos, 2,252 cases and 78 deaths involving non-Hispanic blacks, 121 cases and one death involving Asians or Pacific Islanders and 439 cases and three deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 878 instances and 20 deaths, race is unknown.

Adjusted for population size, whites in Delaware are three times less likely than blacks and more than seven times less likely than Hispanics 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 deaths, while Hispanics account for just 7 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 exposed but never tested.

Because of volume, the hospitalization and critically ill numbers now include non-Delawareans, although all other totals are just Delaware residents, according to DPH.

As usual, the agency did not release additional details about the cases Thursday, citing health privacy laws.


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 1 guidance

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