DPH Weekly Coronavirus Update


The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is providing an update on the most recent statistics related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Delaware, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, August 19, 2021.   

 As of Tuesday, August 17, the seven-day average for the percentage of total tests that were positive was 7.9% – an increase from 6.2% as of Tuesday, August 10. There is a two-day lag for presenting data related to percent of tests that are positive to account for the time delay between the date of the test and the date that DPH receives the test result.  

In addition, 165 individuals are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Delaware, an increase of 54 from last week. Twenty-nine of the hospitalized persons are critically ill, an increase of 19 from last week.   

A total of 1,851 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Four deaths were reported in the past week. The total number of individuals who have died from COVID-19 range in age from younger than 5 to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 936 were female and 915 were male. A total of 915 individuals were from New Castle County, 387 were from Kent County, and 549 were from Sussex County.  

Expanded COVID-19 Vaccine EUAs for Third Dose in Certain Immunocompromised Persons: 

On Friday, August 13, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to allow for the administration of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, the CDC endorsed that recommendation.  Providers may administer a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to individuals in the following categories:  

  • Recipients of organ or stem cell transplants; 
  • People with advance or untreated HIV infection; 
  • Active recipients of treatment for cancer; 
  • People who are taking medications that weaken the immune system; and 
  • Others.  

The third dose may only be administered at least four weeks (28 days) after completing the original two-dose vaccine series. This guidance does not apply to immunocompromised persons who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the FDA and CDC did not have adequate data to make the same recommendation.

Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised, and as a result may benefit from a third dose of the mRNA vaccines. At this time, the CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population. For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html 

DPH Encourages Testing After Participating in Large Gatherings and Events:  

Given the significant increase in recent COVID-19 cases and the large number of gatherings and events that traditionally take place this month, it is recommended that individuals get tested if they have attended a large public gathering such as a concert, community-based event, or any such event where social distancing was not possible and the vaccination status of others is unknown. You should also get tested if you attended gatherings such as birthday parties, off-to-college parties, or weddings where people were in close contact and you were unable to confirm vaccination status of those around you, especially if the gatherings were indoors. A list of testing locations can be found at de.gov/gettested. Additionally, at-home test options are listed on the site, including take-home COVID-19 test kits available at Delaware Libraries. These rapid antigen test kits produce results in as little as 15 minutes and can be kept at home if someone develops symptoms. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to a library for a test kit.  

COVID-19 Vaccinations:   

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 74.7% of Delawareans ages 18+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine. As of 12:01 a.m. August 20, 2021, a total of 1,091,585 administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been reported to the state’s immunization information system, DelVAX. Among Delawareans 12+, 547,856 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 485,033 Delawareans are fully vaccinated. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.   

Vaccines are the best protection we have against COVID-19 and circulating variants. For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination rollout in Delaware, visit de.gov/covidvaccine.   

COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:  

DPH will be providing a weekly breakdown of vaccination status for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in the Friday press releases. This report captures the time frame for August 8 – August 15. The report highlights the significant percentage of cases and hospitalized individuals in Delaware who are unvaccinated, or only partially vaccinated. Vaccination continues to be the most important factor in reducing deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19

Breakthrough Cases  

To date, 485,033 Delawareans have been fully vaccinated. Of those, there have been 1,236 breakthrough cases of COVID-19, occurring in approximately one-quarter of 1 percent of vaccinated individuals. Thirty-six of the reported breakthrough cases identified since vaccinations began involved hospitalizations and 14 individuals passed away, although it does not mean COVID-19 was the cause of death. Breakthrough cases continue to be extremely rare given the total number of persons who are fully vaccinated, and the science is clear, the best way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.   

A breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more – although it does not mean that the infection actually occurred after vaccination. 

Update on COVID-19 Variant Cases in Delaware  

Information from DE Division of Public Health

As of Friday, August 20, the Division of Public Health has identified the following COVID-19 variants in Delaware through routine surveillance of test specimens. These variants are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest. 25 percent of the 34 test samples sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were five additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. This brings the total of variant positive samples to 39 for the week. All were identified as the Delta variant strain.

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory has sequenced 3,741 specimens for COVID-19 variant strains to date, including 138 within the past week. In aggregate, the cases include 1,270 adults ranging in age from 18 to 98, as well as 274 individuals under the age of 18. One thousand one hundred and forty-eight individuals were from New Castle County, 202 were from Kent County and 194 were from Sussex County.  

Virus mutation is common. Sequencing for variants is a complex process and not used for diagnosing COVID-19. It is used after a positive case of COVID-19 has been identified for surveillance purposes, or in identifying the presence of a variant strain in the community. When variant strains are identified, public health approaches and treatments do not currently change. But because these variants may spread more easily, it is even more important that unvaccinated individuals who are more susceptible to getting COVID-19 continue taking the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus – wearing a mask, washing your hands, and being cautious when attending large gatherings.  

The science is clear that the vaccines are extremely safe and effective even against variants – and Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection from COVID-19 infection and serious illness. We would encourage all Delawareans to get vaccinated – de.gov/getmyvaccine.     

For more information regarding CDC variant classifications, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html.  


DPH COVID Vaccine Mobile Units:  

DPH officials in partnership with medical staff from the Delaware National Guard (DNG) have launched mobile units to offer COVID-19 vaccines in under-served communities. Medically trained DNG staff are offering the Pfizer vaccine (for ages 12+) and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (for persons 18+). These mobile units are visiting communities with low vaccination rates in an effort to eliminate potential barriers to access. The mobile units, which utilize trailers to transport the vaccine and provide vaccinations, are scheduled to visit these communities in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties next week. COVID-19 testing will be available at each location. 

Monday, August 23 

  • Bethel Villa Apartments, Wilmington, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Tuesday, August 24  

  • AMF Doverama Bowling, Dover, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  
  • Lowes, Dover, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Wednesday, August 25  

  • Wilmington Farmers Market, Wilmington, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  
  • Adams Four Shopping Center, Wilmington, 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

Thursday, August 26  

  • Rainbow Pediatrics, Georgetown, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  
  • Rainbow Pediatrics, Georgetown, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  

Friday, August 27 

  • Sunset Station Shopping Center, Bear, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

*dates may be rescheduled if there is inclement weather  

For a full list of community-based events statewide including those organized by vaccinating partners and community groups at de.gov/getmyvaccine.  

Long-term Care Statistics  

As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, August 19, there have been a total of 2,805 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 826 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.   

Symptoms and Testing  

It’s especially important for unvaccinated persons, to be aware of, and self-monitor for, the symptoms of COVID-19.  Even fully vaccinated persons should get tested if they develop symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.      

If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or headache or congestion or runny nose without a known cause such as allergies. Other symptoms such as abdominal pain or lack of appetite have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may prompt further screening, action or investigation by a primary care provider.       

Individuals with general questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211, or email delaware211@uwde.org. Hours of operation are:  

 Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.   

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.    

Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.     

Delawareans 18 or older are encouraged to download COVID Alert DE, Delaware’s free exposure notification app to help protect your neighbors while ensuring your privacy. Download on the App Store or Google Play   

Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses re-open should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov. Questions regarding unemployment claims should be emailed to: UIClaims@delaware.gov.       

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.