COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to climb in Delaware, a development Governor John Carney and his top advisors say we should expect to see continue over the next week.
As of this afternoon, 1207 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, along with 23 deaths and 201 hospitalizations.
At a press briefing this afternoon, Governor Carney, Public Health Director Karyl Rattay and Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director A.J. Schall said the number of hospitalizations will continue to climb into the month.
In fact, contrary to revised modeling released yesterday by researchers at University of Washington, Carney says we could be two weeks away from the surge — the point at which Delaware would see its highest rate of hospitalization.
“The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at University of Washington said in their most recent version, with changes to their model or data based on the situation on the ground, that the coronavirus peak here in Delaware has already passed. Well that is just not true,” said the governor.
The state has developed its own hospitalization projection model, and DEMA’s Schall said he predicts that about 500 Delawareans will require hospitalization for COVID-19 at the virus’ peak.
Rattay also addressed the issue of the use of face coverings, referring to CDC guidance issued over the weekend.
“We do recommend wearing face cloth coverings in public settings, especially in places where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like a grocery store or a pharmacy and for some people in their essential workplace,” said Rattay.
She added that it is “really important” that people learn to take them on and off without touching the front of them. And once the masks are taken off, people should wash their hands well.
Rattay says people should wash their cloth face covering at least once a day, ideally, after each outing or each use.
“We want to be clear that this is a recommendation. This is not a requirement. We also really want to be clear that this is not a substitute for existing guidance around handwashing and social distancing, which are so very important.
“The best defense against COVID-19 is frequent hand washing, avoiding being around sick people staying home, physical distancing and avoiding touching your face your eyes with your hands. If phase coverings aren’t used well they actually may increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.”
The governor and Rattay also emphasized that members of the general public are not recommended to use medical or surgical masks, as they should be reserved for healthcare workers.
“But there’s a lot of people out there looking at creative ways to make masks, as long as it’s a tight-knit fabric. There’s a lot of different options out there and on our website, we can point you two different ways to make a mask out of a T-shirt or scarf,” said Rattay.
Rattay also added that the primary purpose of wearing a face covering is really not to protect oneself but rather to protect others.