Coronavirus Update: Possible Leveling, but Numbers Still Too High in Delaware


Image courtesy DPH

Coronavirus numbers in Delaware remain too high – but Public Health officials have seen a possible leveling off in the number of positive tests and hospitalizations. Testing has seen a huge increase after the post-holiday surge – reaching just under an average of 9000 tests daily – and over 62,000 last week. While the average number of new positive tests has decreased a bit – to about 2500 – down from over 4700 on January 7th. And a 7-day average of total positive tests at 28.8% – down from 34.6% on January 9th. Hospitalizations hit a peak of 759 on January 12, but have slowly decreased since then – and dropping below 700 on Monday to 683.

In Delaware’s hospitals, members of the Delaware National Guard have been helping in non-clinical areas to give some staff a chance to decompress and the group who are currently training at Delaware Tech to become CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) will be graduating soon – and placed in hospitals throughout the state to boost staff and relieve some of the stress at Delaware’s over-capacity facilities. Remember – do NOT go to an emergency room for a Covid-19 test!

While there is help from several hundred Delaware National Guard members – your help is needed at Delaware’s hospitals if you can provide it! They’re looking for retired or former health care workers, students studying in health fields – or general volunteers for non-clinical work.

While there seems to be a bit of slowing of the numbers, Delaware Public Health Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay says case rates and hospitalization rates are still way too high – and vaccination numbers remain too low. She say that only 30% of Delawareans are up to date on their vaccinations. Only about half of those who are fully vaccinated with either 2 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna and one dose of the J&J vaccine have received the booster dose. Dr. Rattay adds that the booster increase antibody levels against the Omicron variant, which is now the dominant variant in Delaware. While a fully vaccinated person is still protected against severe illness, the booster is more likely to block the infection.

Federal and State health officials are pushing the higher filtration N95 and KN95 masks for better protection from coronavirus, rather than the cloth or single use surgical masks. However, Dr Rattay adds that ANY mask is better than no mask – just be sure that it fits well and you wear it correctly – covering your mouth and nose and consistently. If you opt for a cloth mask or surgical mask – layer them for better protection.

Today Gov. Carney, Lt. Gov Bethany Hall Long and the Delaware Department of Education announced a one-time distribution of 125,000 KN95 masks which will go to educators, students grades six and above, and childcare providers across the state. Masks will be distributed to Delaware’s public, private, and parochial schools and childcare providers through school and childcare liaisons. The Governor says that this will help students to remain in the classroom and the masks will help to slow the winter surge of the virus. The school masking requirement was to expire in early February, but was extended by the Governor last week. This distribution is only for educators, students and childcare providers. There is no plan for any mask distribution for the general public.

Click here for the current numbers on Delaware’s Covid-19 Data Dashboard