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coronavirus

Del. COVID infection rate decreases to 270+ new cases daily

Governor allows for larger gatherings

  • 6 min to read

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) provided its weekly update regarding the most recent statistics on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Delaware, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

In all, 1,918 new cases were announced in the past week for a total of 84,181 positive cases of COVID-19 among Delaware residents, reported to DPH since March 11, 2020. That's an average of 272 new cases daily since the last report.

In addition, 173 individuals are currently hospitalized (a net decrease of 74 from last week), of whom, 20 are critically ill.

A total of 1,343 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19, with 74 additional deaths since last week's update. Total ages range from under 5 years to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 679 were female and 664 were male. A total of 644 individuals were from New Castle County, 281 were from Kent County, and 418 were from Sussex County.

To protect personal health information, DPH will not confirm specific information about any individual case, even if other persons or entities disclose it independently.

Additional statistics are posted online at the My Healthy Community COVID-19 data portal (https://myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/locations/state).

Updates to emergency order

Also on Friday, Gov. John Carney signed the Seventh Modification to the Omnibus Emergency Order, increasing gathering limits for indoor events with restrictions in place to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The limit on gatherings at businesses and other indoor spaces ​is increased from the current limit of 10 people to 25 people (or 50 percent of stated fire occupancy restrictions, whichever is less). Organizers may ​submit a plan to the Division of Public Health (DPH) to host larger events up to 150 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, or up to 250 with an approved plan from DPH. The limit for private indoor gatherings or events, such as dinner parties, house parties, and birthday parties, remains at 10 people.

Event organizers must email DPH at HSPContact@delaware.gov at least a week prior to the event ​for permission to host indoor gatherings of 26 to 150 people, or outdoor gatherings of 51 to 250 people.

Businesses and other event hosts also must continue to follow state and local COVID-19 restrictions, including masking and social distancing requirements. Indoor gatherings with fewer than 25 people and outdoor gatherings with fewer than 50 people do not require a plan, but must follow all other applicable requirements.

The order also raises the group exercise class capacity to 15 people, excluding staff, with additional restrictions in place.

 “We are making progress in our fight against COVID-19. Hospitalizations are down more than 50 percent from our winter peak, and Delaware providers have administered more than 164,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Carney. “But let’s keep doing what works until we can get enough Delawareans vaccinated. Wear a mask. Avoid large gatherings where this virus can spread. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Stay vigilant.”

Also on Friday, Carney extended the COVID-19 emergency order another 30 days to confront the spread of COVID-19 in the State of Delaware.

The UK variant

To date, the DPH has identified seven confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7, in Delaware through routine surveillance of test specimens. This variant is the same one that was first discovered in England in December, often called the "UK variant." The cases include six adults ranging in age from 18 to 65, as well as a child under 10 year. Five individuals were from New Castle County, and two were from Kent County.

Virus mutation is common. Preliminary data suggests the UK variant, as well as Brazilian and South African variants, may spread more easily and quickly, which could lead to increased cases. Public health approach and treatments are not any different, but as this new variant may be more contagious, it is even more important that individuals remain vigilant and continue taking the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid gatherings.

The seven-day average for the percentage of persons who tested positive for COVID-19 decreased slightly to 19 percent as of Thursday. (DPH publishes both positivity rates – persons tested and total tests conducted – on its online COVID-19 data portal). As of Tuesday, the seven-day average for the percentage of total tests that were positive was 4.8 percent (a decrease from last week).

Information about testing events, including community testing sites and free-standing sites operated by the health care systems and hospitals, will be listed on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus websites:

Vaccines in Delaware:

As of Feb. 19, Delaware has administered 169,677 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state’s immunization information system, DelVAX.

A total of 162,050 doses have been delivered to the state, and 27,000 doses have been delivered as part of the federal pharmacy programs. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.

Additional information about COVID-19 vaccine rollout is available at de.gov/covidvaccine. Questions can be directed to the Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715. People who are deaf and hard of hearing should call 2-1-1 or text their ZIP code to 898-211. Individuals can email their questions concerning the vaccine to Vaccine@Delaware.gov.

DPH Update on Second Doses:

"With the state’s continued limited vaccine supply, we must continue to strike a balance between offering first and second doses, with the recognition that doing so may slow the rate of offering first doses to eligible Delawareans," officials said. Currently the state is focusing on completing a person’s vaccination series.

Vaccination providers have an obligation to provide second doses of the vaccine to those who it provided a first dose. Vaccinating partners are asked to prioritize completing the vaccination series for individuals who received a first dose from them, and then with their remaining allocation strive to balance first doses to eligible persons and second doses for individuals who received a first dose elsewhere. Ongoing vaccine availability constraints may limit the number of first-dose appointments available, or the availability of appointments for second doses who received a first dose elsewhere.

Any person who received their first dose (at Walgreens, Giant, Camden Pharmacy or ChristianaCare) may have received notice recently that their second dose appointment was canceled or postponed. Due to limited supply from the federal government and winter weather events, these second doses may be delayed, which is why you may have received a cancellation notice. DPH is supplying each location with corresponding second doses for every person who received a first dose at those locations. Each of these entities has already begun rescheduling these appointments. If you have not received a notification to reschedule yet, please be patient. These locations are working through their lists based on the supply they are receiving.

Long-term care statistics

Information related to positive cases and deaths among residents at long-term care facilities are reported as of Thursday evening. There have been a total of 2,290 positive COVID-19 cases cumulatively involving long-term care residents, and 679 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19 (an increase of 26 from last week).

Sussex County deaths involving residents of long-term care facilities include:

  • Atlantic Shores Rehabilitation and Health Center, Millsboro (22)
  • Brandywine Living at Seaside Pointe, Rehoboth Beach (5)
  • Cadia Healthcare Renaissance, Millsboro (11)
  • Country Rest Home, Greenwood (15)
  • Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Delmar (2)
  • Harbor Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Lewes (45)
  • Harrison House Senior Living, Georgetown (47)
  • Lofland Park Center, Genesis Healthcare, Seaford (6)
  • Milford Center, Genesis Healthcare, Milford (46)
  • Seaford Center, Genesis Healthcare, Seaford (3)
  • The Moorings at Lewes, Lewes (4)
  • WillowBrooke Court Skilled Center at Manor House, Seaford (12)
  • There have been additional deaths in Kent and New Castle facilities, as well.

COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities

The Division of Public Health will no longer report significant COVID outbreaks in long-term care facilities in the weekly report, as the outbreaks identified and monitored since September 2020 are largely under control at this time. While DPH will continue to actively monitor for clusters in long-term facilities, presenting cumulative case totals no longer provides a valuable, or accurate, representation of the active cases occurring at each facility at this particular point in time

Questions of all kinds

Anyone who is sick with any of the following symptoms should stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose without a known cause (such as allergies). Other symptoms such as abdominal pain or lack of appetite have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may prompt further screening, action or investigation by a primary care provider. Anyone who is sick should avoid going into public spaces and should ask someone else to pick up essential supplies from the grocery store or the pharmacy.

Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, is being advised to make sure to distance themselves from others, particularly vulnerable populations. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions — including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment — might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

People with complaints about individuals violating public gathering restrictions should contact state or local law enforcement. Concerns that a business may be violating operating restrictions should be directed to: HSPContact@delaware.gov. Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses reopen should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov.

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 211, or email info@delaware211.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov. Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses reopen should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov. Questions regarding unemployment claims should be emailed to: UIClaims@delaware.gov.

Any Delaware healthcare, long-term care, residential or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns can email DPH_PAC@delaware.gov or call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 (ext. 2).

For all information on Delaware’s response, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

Download the "COVID Alert DE" tracking application for mobile devices from the Google Play store or Apple App Store.

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