Governor John Carney has announced additional changes in the coronavirus restrictions for Delawareans. Beginning on Friday, May 21st – indoor capacity restrictions will be lifted, however masks and social distancing will still be in place – although social distancing will be decreased from 6 feet to 3 feet. This will allow restaurants to open up more indoor seating – as well as outdoor seating. Governor Carney has already dropped the outdoor masking for people who are fully vaccinated and not in large groups. Otherwise for people who are outside – they should follow the CDC’s guidance.
The reasons for the reduction in restrictions is because of the data – with lower new positive cases, fewer hospitalizations and more people being vaccinated. Also states surrounding Delaware are also planning to lower restrictions as well. With the warmer weather and people spending more time outdoors – it’s hoped the numbers will drop even more – like last summer. However this summer we have the advantage of the coronavirus vaccines – which should help even more to put the virus to rest.
During this week’s coronavirus update, Public Health Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay says that the FDA is very close to authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds – and that authorization could come by early next week. By coming so early in the summer, it will give students a chance to become vaccinated before the start of the school year – with students in the classroom.
This week has seen the number of new positive coronavirus tests statewide decrease from 288 on Saturday to 143 on Monday with the 7-day average percent of all positive cases remaining below the 5% mark – now at 4.5%. Hospitalizations have also dropped from 156 Saturday to 128 on Monday. There have also been NO deaths from the virus since Saturday. In Sussex County there were 63 positive coronavirus tests on Saturday – just 19 on Monday and 18 are hospitalized in Sussex with the virus. There are NO areas of concern regarding case rates as far north as Magnolia. Areas of concern in Delaware include Magnolia and the area of Clayton, Smyrna and Townsend as well as Elsmere and Claymont in Kent and New Castle Counties.
Dr. Rattay says that public health officials are closely watching the coronavirus variants that have been found in the state. Two of them – the UK variant is of concern to health officials, while one of the three New York variants is of interest in samples that have been sequence for them. Health officials do not sequence every sample.
Vaccinations are now more available than at any time since they were released in mid-December. Public health officials say there has been a bit of a decline in demand for the vaccines – however they have continued to request the full dosages so that the five walk-in, no-appointment-needed public health clinics can vaccinate as needed. However vaccines are now available through the five walk-in clinics, Curative, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and the hospital systems – and appointments can be made through their specific scheduling systems – if you go to de.gov/getmyvaccine.