No new deaths in COVID update for second time this week

DOVER — Delaware saw no new COVID-19 deaths in its daily update for the second time this week. The Division of Public Health said Friday no Delawareans had died from the virus Thursday by 6 p.m.

Prior to Monday’s update, it had been two months without at least one coronavirus-related fatality per day. The state now sits at 414 deaths and 10,173 cases. The latter figure is an increase of 67 from the day before.

DPH said 6,062 Delawareans who have caught the virus have recovered, meaning they’ve gone a week without symptoms. The other 40% of Delawareans who have contracted COVID-19 are either currently dealing with it or are now deceased.

As of the latest update, 100 people were hospitalized, among the lowest daily totals since early April. Fourteen were critically ill.

The state announced its first case March 11. There were 9,774 cases, 128 hospitalizations and 388 deaths one week ago and 7,460 cases, 269 hospitalizations and 271 deaths as of the May 15 update, four weeks before the latest data.

Friday’s update also included the weekly data for cases and deaths involving long-term care centers, which have been ravaged by the virus.

DPH said there have been 263 deaths and 1,026 cases involving residents. In other words, individuals living in nursing homes or similar facilities account for 64% of deaths but just 10% of cases.

The latest release marks the first official acknowledgement from the state an employee of a long-term care center has died from the virus. Per DPH, 433 workers at nursing homes and similar places have contracted COVID-19, with one passing away from it.

“Long-term care statistics reported by DPH are based on verified epidemiological surveillance data,” the agency said. “Case data related to long-term care staff is limited to cases in which the individual self-identified as being a staff member at a long-term care facility during case investigation. Therefore, data reported may not be fully complete.”

Of the 263 fatalities, four — Harrison House Senior Living, Genesis Healthcare’s Milford Center, Brandywine Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Pinnacle Rehabilitation and Health Center — make up 109, or 41%.

With 33 and 31, respectively, Harrison House and Milford Center account for almost one in four long-term care center deaths stemming from coronavirus here. However, Milford Center has not seen any deaths in at least a month.

(DPH incorrectly attributed 35 fatalities to Harrison House last week.)

Thirty-one facilities have been home to at least one fatality, with four in Kent County, seven in Sussex County and 20 in New Castle County. There have been 39 deaths involving Kent nursing home residents. Sussex has 97, while New Castle has 127, meaning deaths in the northernmost county have been less concentrated in a few facilities.

The state did not say where the employee who died worked.

Delaware is pushing to ensure every long-term care center has adequate testing supplies, with the state hoping to keep the virus under control through widespread testing in all three counties and especially in nursing homes.

“I know we’re leaning into that and trying to make progress and also the issue of who pays for what is a big question that we’re working on,” Gov. John Carney said Friday during a news conference on the virus.

Speaking after the governor, DPH Director Karyl Rattay touted the steps forward the state has taken in that area. Delaware announced plans for universal testing in nursing homes about a month ago but received some pushback due in part to the cost, she said.

“I’m pretty sure that all long-term care facilities in our state have a plan … have done testing already for their first round of testing,” she said. “We thought it was incredibly important that this happen.

“We saw so much illness and so much death from long-term care facilities that the state at this point is covering the cost. We will see how this evolves as we go forward, but we felt it was that important to make sure it happens.”

According to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Services, DPH’s parent agency, “A large number of facilities has embraced saliva-based testing and the Division of Public Health has provided a month’s worth of testing supplies to those facilities.”

Some nursing homes have been pushing for immunity from COVID-related lawsuits, something Gov. Carney acknowledged Friday, noting no decision has been made on that “sensitive and delicate subject.”

More statistics

So far, about 1.06% of Delawareans have had confirmed or probable cases. DPH said there have been 77,694 total tests, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending.

The virus has been especially prevalent in Sussex, though the fatality rate is actually lowest there.

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% of deaths involved people younger than 50 even though 58% of Delawareans who have caught the virus fit that description.

Eighty percent of deceased individuals were 65 or older.

There have been 5,613 cases and 220 deaths involving females and 4,543 cases and 194 deaths involving males. Seventeen cases have involved people of currently unknown sex.

The state has seen 2,952 cases and 251 deaths involving non-Hispanic white Delawareans, 2,921 cases and 27 deaths involving Hispanic or Latino Delawareans, 2,706 cases and 110 deaths involving non-Hispanic black Delawareans, 156 cases and one death involving Asian or Pacific Islander Delawareans and 505 cases and four deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 933 instances and 21 deaths, race is unknown.

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

Have a question, tip, or resources about the coronavirus pandemic? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll do what we can to provide answers.