New Covid-19 Cases Lower But Still a Concern
The number of new cases of Covid-19 has declined since July, but Delaware Public Health officials say the disease is still among us – with higher levels in Kent and Sussex Counties. Case levels in New Castle County are listed as medium. Delawareans are urged to continue safe practices such as masking in crowded indoor spaces, isolating themselves when feeling sick, getting vaccinated, testing, and following the CDC’s guidelines if you have a positive test result.
The CDC has updated its COVID-19 guidelines related to isolation and quarantine. Delaware public health officials have met with community leaders to discuss the changes and considered the concerns of the community as public health adjusts to the new guidelines presented by the CDC.
The CDC indicated its updates were a result of information learned as the pandemic has evolved. The agency indicates that several factors have led to increased levels of overall protection against the virus, including high levels of vaccination (the majority of Americans have at least one dose of the vaccines), as well as infection-induced immunity, the availability of COVID treatments and prevention tools such as masking.
There were no changes to guidelines regarding isolation (staying home for five days if you test positive for COVID), except to offer an early end to masking during the second five days after leaving isolation. If you wish to end mask use early (essentially on day 8), then you will need to take two antigen tests, 48 hours apart, with the first test being on day 6. If both tests come back negative, you can discontinue masking on day 8. If either test comes back positive, continue masking.
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you must mask for 10 days regardless of vaccination status as it can take up to 10 days after exposure to become positive for COVID-19, but you are no longer asked to quarantine (stay home) if you are not up-to-date with vaccines. The updated guidance also places additional emphasis on improving ventilation in indoor spaces.
Delaware-specific data, comparing the January 2022 surge, to now, supports the rationale leading to the updated guidance. At its peak on January 11, DPH reported a 7-day daily average of 3,339.4 new positive cases. On Friday, DPH reports a 7-day daily average of 279.4 COVID-19 cases.
Medical-related questions regarding testing, symptoms and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@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.