Since mid-January Delaware’s coronavirus numbers have begun to reverse – and on Monday Delaware’s hospitalizations dropped below 100 for the first time since last fall. During this week’s coronavirus update Governor John Carney had good news. Delaware’s coronavirus numbers are trending lower as the number of positive tests are lower and hospitalizations have dropped below 100 for the first time since last fall. Carney said, “That light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day.”
While weather has slowed vaccinations a few times, Delaware is still vaccinating at rates that near the allocation of the supply that the state is receiving from the federal government. Vaccinations for the phase 1-A are wrapping up with their second doses. They are still working through the registration list that once had over 100,000 names of seniors waiting for appointments – over 70,000 have received their vaccines – and this month the focus is on educators, school staff and child care workers. There will be a mass vaccination event at Dover International Speedway this weekend – which is by appointment only. Also in the 1-B group other essential workers with the last of the first responders, correctional officers and poultry workers. They will be followed by other essential workers – including food manufacturing, grocery stores, public transit, postal service.
Governor Carney is concerned about a group of Delawareans who are dead set against getting the vaccine. He says it could be a rather large percentage of the population – possibly as much as 20%. He’s hoping that as other family members get the vaccine those holding out will want to keep those family members safe – especially those who haven’t been vaccinated yet. And so far there’s still no vaccine for anyone under the age of 16.
While the numbers trend lower, DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says they have rolled back the criteria for case rates for ‘areas of concern’ which this week is a real change on the map – showing only 4 zip codes – all in New Castle County. Three of the areas are around UD and the 4th is in Townsend.
Dr. Rattay says that the CDC has issued new guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated. While they should still wear a mask and social distance when in public or when with people from multiple households. But they can visit with others who have been fully vaccinated (that’s both doses – or the single Johnson & Johnson plus two weeks) with no mask or distancing. You can spend time with members of a single household who are low-risk – with no mask or distancing. And those fully vaccinated no longer have to quarantine or test – even after a known exposure. In all circumstances – you should still avoid large gatherings.
Over 280,000 doses of vaccine have been administered, however this only makes up just over 10% of the state’s population. Appointments are still being taken for the state’s mass vaccination events – but people who are eligible can also register for vaccination at area pharmacies, Walmart and even their personal physician. Dr. Rattay reminds everyone with an invitation to show up! There have been multiple instances of people not showing up at vaccination events. That means others who could have come off the waiting list are still there. If you do get a vaccination elsewhere – remember to cancel any other registrations you may have made.
The state is also working on equity initiatives to get to seniors who are minority or not able to get to a vaccination site, or have no access to computers to register. There will be multiple community sites statewide this week where vaccinations will be given.