New Round of DE Relief Grants, Keeping the Holiday Safe and More Vaccine to DE

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During today’s coronavirus update – while the numbers are still not good and community spread of the virus is high statewide – there are some things to look forward to – like the vaccines from Pfizer arriving in Delaware last week and Moderna this week. We have only just begun to fight the battle, but over 3800 health care workers have been vaccinated in just the past week, as more vaccine will be arriving in time for Christmas.

Governor John Carney has announced a new round of relief funding. There is $26-million from the CARES Act – which will include a 20% bonus for relief grant recipients, a 50% bonus for hospitality businesses. Nearly 3000 Delaware businesses has received funding to the tune of over $180-million in grants. Click here for more information

Governor Carney also is asking Delawareans to show their support and to celebrate our frontline health care heroes on Christmas Eve. He’s asking everyone go outside at 6pm and ring bells – any sort of bells, cow bells, sleigh bells, bicycle bells – whatever you have.

DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says that there is no part of Delaware untouched by coronavirus, however the case rates have stabilized some in the past week. There are still areas of concern – including Frederica, Frankford and Selbyville. The largest area of concern is in Delaware City where the number of positive cases has increased greatly.

Dr. Rattay says that as our numbers began to increase in November – Thanksgiving Day was a super-spreader day for Delaware. With people spending time with family over Hanukkah and Christmas – we could see a potential surge on top of a surge. She says there are some things you can do if you still plan to gather with people from outside of your household. Her mitigation strategies include limiting the number of people, wear face masks when with people from outside your household, have separate household members dine in different rooms – and remember to social distance as well. She’s urging everyone to stay safe for Christmas.

The new doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be shipped directly to Delaware hospitals – and some to DPH for EMS and others. DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong says that it’s not known if Delaware will receive similar shipments of the vaccines in the future – that will depend on orders and availability.

Delaware is in Phase 1-A – which is going to frontline health care workers and resident of long-term care facilities. The rollout of this phase will be about 2 months. The information for phase 1-B is still being worked on, however Dr. Hong says the national guidance is close to what Delaware has also proposed and the second phase will likely overlap the last part of 1-A. For the general public – the vaccine will likely be available in the spring.

Monday’s numbers are a bit higher than Sunday’s, but there still could be a delay in reporting to the DPH lab as well. There were 579 new positive cases of coronavirus – with over 300 of them in New Castle County – 116 in Sussex. Public Health officials report 1 death from the virus Monday – in New Castle County who was a resident of a long-term care facility. The number of hospitalizations continue to rise – to a new high Monday of 433, with 61 people in critical condition. 85 Sussex Countians are hospitalized with the virus – the fewest in the state. The number of positive cases of coronavirus is at over 51,600 since March – but the number of people testing negative is at 436,652.