Delaware’s coronavirus numbers have been elevated since early November – and people gathering with friends and family through the holidays hasn’t helped to flatten the curve. There were 771 new positive cases of the virus reported on Monday – bringing the total to over 61,000. 201 cases reported in Sussex County. There were also 10 deaths reported Monday – 4 in New Castle County and three each in Kent and Susses – all were in the 50s into their 90s age range – and three were residents of long-term care facilities. Sussex County still has the fewest people hospitalized for coronavirus at 90 – 2 less than Sunday. Statewide there are 431 hospitalized and 56 of them are in critical condition. 1563 Delawareans received negative test results – bringing that total since March – to 460,650.
Schools will return to hybrid learning next Monday. Education Secretary Dr. Susan Bunting joined this week’s coronavirus update with the Governor and said that she and her team have met with all 19 school districts statewide and representatives from all the charter schools to hear their concerns and questions as they return to hybrid learning. She says there was a great deal of positivity, however teachers, staff and parents want clear, concise and transparent communication. A new simpler dashboard has been released at the My Healthy Community website – the In-Person Contagious School Cases Dashboard. Some information is there – more will be added at mid-month as students return to the classroom. She also said that when a staff member or teacher has to quarantine – their supply of substitute teachers has been stretched thin and Bunting is putting out the call for substitute teachers. DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay also said that while there has been some virus in the schools – the spread generally has not occurred in the schools – the students, teachers or staff member has become infected outside the school setting.
Over the holidays many people gathered with friends and family – and may have been lax in their mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing. They’re urged to get tested to know their coronavirus status. It will still be several months before vaccine will be available for the general public.
Vaccine arrived in Delaware about 3 weeks ago – and several shipments have been received from both Pfizer and Moderna – totaling over 50,000 doses. However only 15,460 doses have been administered. Dr. Rattay says that the actual number of doses administered is likely off due to delays in reporting, but of the unused vaccine – about 10 thousand doses are in reserve for the first people who have already received their first shot – and will need the second in the next week or so. Another 15,000 are with health partners and another 10,000 will be used for mass vaccination events for EMS and first responders. As for the long term care facilities – which are with the Federal Pharmacy Program – all 171 facilities are now scheduled to receive the vaccine and 12 facilities have already completed the first dose. The Phase 1-A group which is currently receiving the vaccine consists of about 70,000 people – they will continue to receive vaccine until everyone has gotten the second dose – which could be into late February. However the Phase 1-B group – persons 65 and older and frontline essential workers – will likely begin getting vaccinations in late January. One group doesn’t need to be completed before the next group begins. You’ll find more on the vaccine at the Vaccine Tracker at My Healthy Community.
Governor Carney says that with schools returning to hybrid learning, over the next week or two he will revisit the capacity regulations for bars and restaurants and other small businesses. Public Health officials are also still working on guidance for winter sports – especially basketball and wrestling as they are indoor and close contact – which is riskier than the fall outdoor sports. Governor Carney says that with the New Year – he has two primary objectives – getting kids back in school and vaccines into Delawareans as we put 2020 behind us.