State hoping to push number of COVID cases back down

WILMINGTON — As Delaware’s COVID-19 numbers have increased over the last couple of weeks, state officials are reminding the public the virus has not gone away.

The Delaware Division of Public Health announced 93 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 19,761.

Delaware’s seven-day rolling average has stayed above the World Health Organization’s recommended mark of 5% for more than a week. It was 6.7%, the DPH reported on Tuesday, which reflects data as of Monday at 6 p.m.

“We’re just not where we want to be,” Gov. John Carney said at his weekly COVID-19 press briefing.

“We can’t let our guard down,” DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. “We just can’t let our guard down as we’re seeing our cases increase.”

Dr. Rattay said current spikes in cases and percentage of positive tests are happening in three areas throughout the state – Wilmington, Newark and Western Sussex County.

Dr. Rattay attributed the outbreak in Newark to cases from the University of Delaware and said the Wilmington spike is centered mostly in the 19805 ZIP code but the DPH has seen small clusters of outbreaks in Wilmington’s 19802 ZIP code and the 19720 ZIP code, which is near New Castle.

The main area for concern in Wester Sussex, Dr. Rattay said, is in Bridgeville, but the DPH is also encouraging individuals in Greenwood, Seaford and Laurel to get tested as well.

“We really want to push our numbers down. We want to push them down as much as we possibly can,” Dr. Rattay said. “When we look overall in Delaware, we’re seeing increases in cases and percent-positives. When we look at certain geographical areas, we’re seeing higher increases in comparison to other areas.”

Dr. Rattay said Delawareans can follow simple steps to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 such as staying home if ill, keeping hands clean by hand washing and sanitizing, plus, the most important Dr. Rattay says wearing a face covering in public.

“They work,” Dr. Rattay said. “We know people are tired of it. But it’s important that when we’re around anyone else, within six feet especially, make sure you’re wearing a face covering.”

Dr. Rattay added the DPH epidemiology team is reporting the new outbreaks are not linked to specific events or public spaces. For instance, the DPH case investigators said the spike in cases in the 19805 ZIP code, which has seen 84 cases in the last two weeks, is due to spread within homes.

The DPH also announced one additional COVID-19-related death on Tuesday, upping the state’s death toll to 628. The new death was a 44-year-old man from New Castle County who had an underlying health condition and was not a resident of a long-term care facility, according to the DPH.

It is the 310th COVID-19 -elated death in New Castle County, which leads the state. Sussex County has the second-most with 203 deaths, followed by Kent County’s 115.

There are currently 62 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in Delaware with 14 in critical condition, according to the DPH.

Delaware remains on the 14-day quarantine list for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut while being added to Washington D.C.’s list this week due to its higher rate of cases. Delaware’s seven-day rolling average for new cases per day is 103.9.

“I’ve been saying for several weeks now we’re not as good as we want to be,” Gov. Carney said. “We’re not as healthy as we want to be. But we’re not as bad as other states and not as bad as we’ve been. We’re kind of in this uncomfortable middle zone. … We want it to be moving down, not staying static and certainly not moving up”

There were an additional 1,530 negative tests recorded as of Monday at 6 p.m., the DPH said, which increases the overall total of negative tests to 255,076. The DPH also said there were 35 more recoveries from the virus, bringing that total to 10,411.

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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