Young adults leading state of Delaware in COVID cases

DOVER — The age demographic where the spread of COVID-19 is the highest is also the hardest demographic to reach, says Gov. John Carney.

The 18- to 34-year-old age group leads the state with 5,865 positive COVID-19 cases, according to data via the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). As of Wednesday at 6 p.m., that is nearly 1,500 more cases than the next age demographic — the 35- to 49-year-old age group, which has recorded 4,393 positives.

“The focus of these outbreaks is in a young-adult demographic, not so worried about coming down with COVID-19 or the risk they pose to others in the community if they do,” Gov. Carney said at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday. “It’s not just here in Delaware, it’s across the country.”

Currently, the 18- to 34-year-old age group has made up 32% of positive COVID-19 cases in Delaware.

In terms of rate of positive cases per age group, measured per 10,000 people, the 18- to 34-year-old demographic has a rate of 276.1 positive tests per its population — up from 235.5 this time last month. It has had the highest rate of positive cases in the state since July 15.

Another group which has seen its cases rise over the last month is the 5- to 17-year-old demographic which has passed the 1,000-mark.

There have been 1,170 positive cases for 5- to 17-year-olds in total, more than 200 of which have come in the last 30 days as the DPH has encouraged children in school districts using a hybrid model to be tested before going back to school.

Still, 5- to 17-year-olds only make up 6% of all COVID-19 cases in Delaware.

One problem the state has encountered with the younger generations is contact tracing, especially with college-age individuals.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, the DPH’s director, reminded the public on Tuesday all contact tracing is done by the DPH, not individual entities like employers or universities.

Dr. Rattay said some college students think they will be in trouble with their university while going through contact tracing, when this is not the case.

“People have a fear of consequences and I want to reemphasize we are not out to get anyone. We need information to stop the spread of this infection,” Dr. Rattay said. “That’s what we’re doing through these case investigations and the calls.”

“This information is so critically important for the work we’re doing,” Dr. Rattay added. “When you get a call from DPH contact tracing, please pick up the phone.”