State adding more data to COVID dashboard

WILMINGTON — The Delaware Division of Public Health has added two new sets of data to its COVID-19 data dashboard.

Percentage of positive tests is now available, and hospitalizations can now be sorted by county.

The state previously only posted percentage of positive persons. But now, seven months into the pandemic, so many individuals have been tested more than once, leading the DPH to make both statistics available.

DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said both statistics will be used by the state, saying person-based statistics show the overall prevalence of the virus while the total tests percentage shows a better understanding of what is currently happening.

“People tested measures more of the overall burden or prevalence of people over time in our state,” Dr. Rattay said at the state’s weekly COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday. “Total tests is a really important metric, very helpful for understanding community spread but also how we are doing in regards to testing.”

The seven-day rolling average for both statistics has either decreased or stayed the same for 12 consecutive days.

For percent of persons testing positive, the seven-day rolling average is down to 5.3%, reported by the DPH on Tuesday, which reflects data as of Monday at 6 p.m. It was as high as 9.6% on Sept. 30.

The seven-day rolling average for percentage of positive tests meanwhile is down to 2.5%, compared to 4.3% 12 days ago.

Percentage of positive tests will always show a lower percentage compared to percentage of persons testing positive, Dr. Rattay said.

This is because while calculating the percentage of persons testing positive, each person is only counted once, regardless of how many times they are tested. The testing-based percentage, however, uses the number of total tests done, causing a greater denominator, while the numerator (new positive cases) remains the same.

For instance, as of Monday at 6 p.m., the state has tested 315,752 total persons. But it has administered a total of 486,262 tests, the difference between the two is expected to continue to grow.

“We are testing teachers over and over again. We’re testing students over and over again. We’re testing employees over and over again and obviously our front-line workers,” Gov. John Carney said Tuesday.

“That number of total tests is going to be much higher than the number of persons tested, so that’s the difference in the measure. We will continue to look at both of them as we make a determination of how extensive the spread is and the conditions there.”

Making the test-based statistic available was key for Delaware because it is what the Center for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins recommend.

“It was important for us to update this metric and add the total tests metric to make our data consistent and comparable across states,” Dr. Rattay said.

The DPH is also breaking down the number of hospitalizations by county as they continue to rise.

Delaware has currently 112 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 – the most since June 7. Nineteen of those current hospitalizations are considered critical.

New Castle County and Sussex County are experiencing the sharpest uptick in hospitalizations.

Sussex County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations increased from seven on Sept. 29 to 28 in the data reported on Tuesday. New Castle County has the most hospitalized with COVID-19 at 77.

Kent County meanwhile has remained unchanged in the last week with seven hospitalizations.

“So far from early information, nothing in particular is jumping out,” Dr. Rattay said.

“We do know that we have some individuals from the long-term facilities where there are outbreaks who are hospitalized. We know that is a part of it. What we believe we are seeing, we know that in late August and September we saw increases in our cases or our case rates as a state. Although luckily that appears to be leveling off right now. Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator so we think that just through community spread, that is why we now have higher numbers of individuals who are hospitalized.”

There were three more COVID-19-related deaths to report on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 659. The most recent deaths ranged in age from 69 years old to 97 years old.

Two were from New Castle County while the other was from Sussex County. All three had underlying health conditions and none were residents of a long-term care center, according to the DPH.

New Castle County has recorded the most COVID-19-related deaths, followed by Sussex County’s 212 and Kent County’s 119.

The DPH reported 104 new positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, increasing the state’s total to 22,394. All numbers via the DPH are as of 6 p.m. Monday.

The DPH also provided an update on three outbreaks in long-term care centers plus one additional facility it is monitoring.

• Kentmore Rehbailitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington has 54 residents and 39 staff members positive.

• Cadia Healthcare Silverside in Wilmington has 44 residents and 27 staff members positive.

• Country Rest Home in Greenwodd has 28 residents and 16 staff members positive.

• Regal Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Hockessin has a combined 14 positive cases.

“In general, those situations seem to be stabilized at this point,” Dr. Rattay said.

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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