The State of Delaware on Tuesday added 67 more people to the numbers of those killed by the coronavirus.
They were not new deaths, and many occurred at the start of the epidemic. But they have recently been uncovered, said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health.
The additions raised the number of people in Delaware who had died to 504.
The new cases were found in death certificates in which the doctor signing the documents said the cause of death was COVID-19 or that the coronavirus was an underlying cause, but did not notify the state. According to Centers for Disease Control regulations, the cases must be added to the death roll.
Rattay said the state went back and looked at death certificates after another state discovered it had missed cases.
“In our goal of ensuring that our data is of the highest possible quality, we looked at death certificates and realized that there were a number of cases that have not been reported to us,” Rattay said during the governor’s weekly press conference on COVID-19. “So we dug in deep to better understand those cases. That’s why they’re being added now.”
Deaths from COVID-19 are supposed to be reported directly to health department epidemiologists but these were not, Rattay said.
Among the 67 cases, 32 were people already in the system that the state knew were positive, but didn’t know had died. About 35 did not have positive tests and the state didn’t know about them.
Of the new deaths, 75 percent took place in a long-term care facility and another 10 percent started there, she said.
The state will now reach out to long-term care facilities to help make them aware of how to report deaths, she said.
In other COVID-19 news:
• The state wants everyone to be tested who thinks they could have been exposed somewhere or who just wants to be. Testing stations have been set up all over the state. Find the sites at https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/
• Carney said it’s obvious from his travels around the state that many people are not taking social distancing and wearing face coverings seriously. They need to, he said, to help avoid an uptick in infections and to protect the vulnerable.
• Rattay said eight people who attended Senior Week events at the beach have now tested positive for coronavirus. Last week, they said three teens sharing a beach house had been infected, and they attended several crowded events in Rehoboth Beach. Rattay urged anyone who went to the beach for Senior Week activities to be tested. No one is in trouble, she said. But the state wants to track the cases and contacts and try to contain the virus.
• After lots of declines, hospitalizations for the virus jumped over the weekend from the high 70s to 91. Carney said hospital administrators say they are not concerned about a big jump but are concerned about the numbers and severity of the virus. The numbers are well below what the state hospitals can handle, he said.
• New positive cases in Delaware are tracking national numbers that say many new cases are rising in the 18-34 population. Officials said many young people want to get out, go to the beach and go to bars and other summer events. They should wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, officials said.