Weekly Coronavirus Update: Concerns in Sussex County, New Metrics & Vaccine Planning

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Image courtesy de.gov/coronavirus

During this week’s coronavirus update, Governor John Carney said that Sussex County has seen the most extensive spread of the virus – starting with the outbreak in April at the poultry plants. Other issues in Sussex County – senior week, the long holiday weekends, an outbreak at the long term care facility in Greenwood, as well as other issues around the county. While there are no outbreaks statewide, DPH Director, Dr Karyl Rattay says there are several warmer areas for the virus – including several locations in Sussex – like Georgetown, Lewes, Laurel, Bridgeville and Ellendale. Even an outbreak at UD a month ago has dropped from 95 positive cases to 7 last week.

Image courtesy de.gov/coronavirus

Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay went over several new updates on the My Healthy Community website. Currently on the website you’ll find the total number of people hospitalized for coronavirus – however now on each of the county sites is information how many of those hospitalized are from New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties. New Castle currently has 77 people hospitalized – that number has increased since the beginning of the month by 12, Kent County’s numbers have remained steady, however Sussex County has seen the number of hospitalizations more than double since October 1st from 12 to 28.

Also new on My Healthy Community – a second metric for the percent positive. The one that Delaware has used all along is the total number of persons who test positive. It also only counts 1 test – regardless if the person being tested has had multiple tests – this often brings a higher percentage as well. The metric that is used by many states, the CDC, Johns Hopkins and the federal government is the percentage of all tests. This new percentage, for October 10th is at 2.2% while on the same date the percentage of persons testing positive is 4.5%.

Public Health has also been working on vaccine planning – and planning for a variety of scenarios depending on what vaccine is approved and arrives in Delaware. Dr. Rattay says they will be sending an early draft to the CDC by the end of this week – and information will be added as the planning moves forward. They will need to prioritize who will get the vaccine first and will work with the ethics committee to provide guidance on those decisions. She also says that Public Health will not distribute any vaccine that has not been through the FDA approval process and is deemed safe and effective.