Now at 4,162, COVID-19 total has doubled in past 10 days

DOVER — Delaware announced 128 new coronavirus cases, including five deaths, Monday. The state now stands at 4,162 laboratory-confirmed cases and 125 deaths.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, 325 people were hospitalized in Delaware from coronavirus-related issues, with 50 critically ill. The Division of Public Health said 996 individuals have recovered, meaning they have gone without symptoms for at least a week.

With the case total doubling over the past 10 days (the death toll has increased by an even larger percentage), Delaware’s face mask mandate goes into effect today. Announced Saturday by Gov. John Carney, the order requires Delawareans to wear face masks in public settings.

It does not apply to children younger than 13 or to those who have a medical condition that would be negatively impacted by a face covering.

Under the restriction, businesses must deny entry to any person who is not covering his or her face and does not fit in the exempt categories.

Delaware’s first official coronavirus case came on March 11, with the first death announced March 26.

As of April 19, one week before the latest day for which there is data, the state had seen 2,745 cases and 72 deaths. There were 1,625 cases and 35 deaths one week prior to that.

Data presented by state officials Friday estimates there will be about 6,400 cases by the end of this week.

As more COVID-19 cases are confirmed, the count in Sussex County continues to grow. Though Sussex has more cases per capita than any other county, New Castle County had held the mark for most total instances since the initial case. Over the weekend, however, Sussex passed the northernmost county.

It now has seen 1,870 cases and 45 deaths, meaning it has about 24 percent of the state’s population but 45 percent of its COVID-19 cases.

There have been 1,629 cases and 57 deaths involving New Castle County, with 652 cases and 23 deaths involving Kent County. In 11 instances, the patient’s home is unknown.

According to data from DPH, six ZIP codes in the state have had at least 1 percent of residents test positive. All are in Sussex, and two encompassing the greater Georgetown area have seen cases in at least 2.7 percent of residents.

Part of the increase is attributable to Hispanic workers at poultry plants in Sussex, state officials have said. Many of those individuals speak limited or no English and live and work in tight quarters, meaning they are less aware of the virus and it has an avenue to easily spread.

Delaware announced new efforts last week to help Sussex Countians, including partnering with hospitals and poultry plants to offer free testing and provide educational materials and essential items like hand sanitizer and bandanas.

DPH has stopped offering information on specific deaths, announcing Saturday it will not be providing the age, gender and location of each victim.

“As we now have over 100 deaths, tracking specific information for individual deaths gets more challenging and we want to make sure our information is accurate,” DPH spokeswoman Stacey Hofmann wrote in an email Monday. “The long-term care section was removed Saturday, but we may look to provide it weekly rather than daily moving forward.

“We are evaluating that, but we want to make sure we are sharing information in a way that limits potential errors, is accurate to the best of our knowledge and provides information that is truly valuable to Delawareans.”

Seventy-seven deaths have involved residents of long-term facilities. As of 6 p.m. Thursday, there were 59 such deaths and 244 cases, including 19 fatalities at Genesis Healthcare’s Milford Center and 11 at Little Sisters of the Poor.

Statewide, those who have had confirmed cases range in age from less than a year old to 103, with deaths involving people from ages 32 to 103, according to DPH. The vast majority of people who died were elderly.

In all, there have been 1,882 cases and 62 deaths involving men, 2,246 cases and 63 deaths involving women and 34 cases involving a person of unknown gender.

The five new deaths announced Monday include one woman and four men, with the individuals ranging in age from 71 to 92. Two were New Castle County residents, one was a Kent resident and two were Sussex residents.

All five had underlying health conditions, and two were in nursing homes.

Of the 4,162 total cases, 1,137 have involved black Delawareans, 1,041 have involved white Delawareans, 758 have involved Hispanics or Latinos, 52 have involved individuals of Asian or Pacific Islander descent and 197 have involved people from another race or multiple races. In 977 instances, race is unknown.

Adjusted for population size, Hispanics in Delaware are more than five times more likely to catch the virus than whites, while blacks are more than three times as likely as whites to test positive.

There have been 15,454 negative test results, DPH said, although it cautions the figure is preliminary and should not be used as a substitute for the overall number of Delawareans who have been tested.

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Delaware is counting deaths of not just individuals with laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases but also people who had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and were exposed to a confirmed case 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 the agency.

As usual, DPH did not release additional details about the cases Monday, 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 2 guidance

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