DE Hospitals Implement Crisis Standards of Care in Coronavirus Winter Surge as Omicron Becomes Dominant in First State


Delaware hospitals are stretched to the limit. Hospital capacity is over 700 who are sick with coronavirus – about 40%, as well as people with other illnesses. Hospital officials say that many of those who are sick with coronavirus are only partially or not vaccinated.

Several hospitals are operating under Crisis Standards of Care. Chief Physician Executive at ChristianaCare, Dr Ken Silverstein says that crisis conditions exist when resource challenges – including staffing, space and supplies – place such a burden on the health system that it must modify the practice standards in order to provide care. This is the first time that Crisis Standards of Care have been implemented in Delaware.

Delaware Public Health Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay says the DPH lab is now sequencing specimens that are 78% Omicron variant and 22% Delta variant, so the First State has turned the corner with the Omicron variant being dominant. Omicron is more contagious and Dr. Rattay told WGMD that it’s “time to dispel the myth that omicron is mild.” She adds that many people who are showing up sic are surprised at how sick they are.

In a revision Monday to the State of Emergency, Governor John Carney has called up another 100 Delaware National Guard members to help out in non-clinical operations inside Delaware hospitals and another 100 will be trained as certified nursing assistants. The revision also reinstated the indoor mask mandate – requiring masks when inside public places from convenience stores to businesses, bars and restaurants to malls.

Dr. Rattay adds that cloth masks should be paired with more substantial surgical masks – as the layers will better prevent spread of the virus and that they should be worn at home as well if you are with people from outside your home. The mask mandate will help to slow the spread of the virus, especially now that the holiday season and unmasked visitations have passed, but it will still likely be a few weeks before there is a drop in positive tests and hospitalizations.

Many are finding testing difficult as the kits are hard to come by. DEMA Director, AJ Schall said that soon the state will be setting up a 3 to 4 week drive thru testing site at the Delaware City DMV. Between January 1st and 7th, at the state testing locations, over 61,000 Covid tests were performed – that includes the state service center, public health clinics and Walgreens.