No new Delaware COVID deaths for third time in two weeks

DOVER — Delaware announced no new COVID deaths Monday, the third time in two weeks that’s happened. Before June 8, the last day without a coronavirus-related fatality here was in early April.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, the state had seen 435 deaths and 10,820 cases. The latter is an increase of 45 from the day before.

The Division of Public Health said 89 people were hospitalized due to coronavirus, with 17 critically ill.

Per the agency, 6,459 Delawareans who have caught the virus have recovered, meaning they’ve gone seven days or more without symptoms. The other 40% of Delawareans who have contracted COVID-19 are either currently dealing with it or are now deceased.

The state announced its first case March 11. There were 10,444 cases, 88 hospitalizations and 423 deaths one week ago and 9,089 cases, 205 hospitalizations and 332 deaths as of the May 25 update, four weeks before the latest data.

So far, about 1.12% of Delawareans have tested positive for the virus. DPH said 96,723 people have been tested, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending.

New Castle County passed Sussex County for most cases last week, seven weeks after Sussex seized the title. So far, there have been 4,682 cases involving residents of New Castle and 4,501 involving residents of Sussex, with 1,620 involving residents of Kent County.

Additionally, the addresses for 17 people who have caught the virus are currently unknown, DPH said.

New Castle has seen the most deaths, with 197, compared to 154 in Sussex and 84 in Kent. However, the fatality rate is highest in Kent, with 5.2% of residents who catch the virus dying. About 4.2% of New Castle residents and 3.4% of those in Sussex with COVID have passed away.

Adjusted for age, residents of Sussex remain almost three times more likely than residents of New Castle and two-and-a-half times more likely than those from Kent to have tested positive.

The virus hit Sussex hard early in the outbreak, exploding in part due to the ease of transmission in poultry plants. The county, which has about a quarter of the state’s population, at the peak contained almost half of all Delaware cases.

The southernmost county has seen its rate steadily slip over the past month or so, which may be partially due to more testing in New Castle, the most populous county. Still, data for Sussex shows it’s had a disproportionate share, especially among minorities: About 9% of Hispanic residents in Sussex have tested positive for COVID, more than quadruple the rates in New Castle and Kent.

The 19947 ZIP Code, the greater Georgetown area, has seen 1,089 positive cases — 595 per 10,000 people, per DPH. That’s by far the most in the state for any location. Most of those cases involved Hispanic individuals.

Just over 13% of Delaware deaths have involved people with no prior known health issues. About 64% of the individuals who died from complications stemming from COVID were long-term care residents.

There’s no timetable on when Delaware will enter the third and final phase of its recovery, which is based off a model proposed by the White House. That’s dependent on how well people follow the current rules, such as social distancing and wearing a face covering in public.

Gov. John Carney has stated several times officials are largely relying on education and voluntary compliance, hoping to emphasize how individual actions affect other people. Delaware is a state of neighbors, he’s said repeatedly, aiming to impart a sense of community and of responsibility for keeping others safe.

Some states have seen recent upticks in cases, though new hospitalizations and percentage of tests coming back positive are trending downward here. The virus appears to have peaked in Delaware around the beginning of May, but health officials warn it is far from defeated.

The First State is hoping to fight the spread with widespread free testing and contact tracing to quickly identify, track and isolate potential cases.

Delawareans who have had confirmed cases range in age from less than a year old to 104, with deaths involving people from 21 to 104. Just 6% of deaths involved people younger than 50 even though 58% of Delawareans who have caught the virus fit that description.

Only 20% of deaths have come in people younger than 65.

In total, there have been 5,992 cases and 231 deaths involving females and 4,808 cases and 204 deaths involving males. Twenty cases have involved people of currently unknown sex.

About 55% of cases in the First State have involved girls or women.

By race, there have been 3,192 cases and 264 deaths involving non-Hispanic white Delawareans, 3,096 cases and 28 deaths involving Hispanic or Latino Delawareans, 2,869 cases and 117 deaths involving non-Hispanic black Delawareans, 164 cases and one death involving Asian or Pacific Islander Delawareans and 528 cases and four deaths involving people from another race or multiple races. In 971 instances and 21 deaths, race is unknown.

Adjusted for population size, white Delawareans are more than seven times less likely than Hispanic Delawareans and almost three times less likely than Black Delawareans to have COVID-19. Though white, Black and Hispanic individuals each represent a little more than a quarter of the coronavirus cases here, white people make up 61% of fatalities, while Black people are 27% and Hispanic people account for just 6%.

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 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

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