As the number of Delaware’s COVID-19 cases hit their highest one-day total ever, Gov. John Carney formalized new restrictions, which include allowing parties of no more than two to sit together at bars.
Delaware saw its largest single-day total of new positive cases since the pandemic began in March with 649 cases reported on Thursday, the state Division of Public Health said. The daily number of new cases was 399 over seven days.
Most of the new cases are connected with dining out with friends and social gatherings such as weddings, funerals and football watching parties, state health officials say.
With Thanksgiving approaching next week, the state is urging residents:
- Only dine socially (at home and in restaurants) with those who live with you.
- Don’t spend time socially with people outside your household.
- Don’t plan on holding holiday dinners with those outside your household – even family.
The Division of Public Health also said it was recommending against allowing anyone who lives in a long-term care facility to leave that facility for the holidays, to avoid exposure to the virus and possibly bringing it back.
To read the guidance on that, go here.
Friday’s weekly report on the numbers was grim. It said the state has seen 30,816 positive cases, with 170 people hospitalized, up 40 from last Friday. Twenty-six are critically ill, up four from last week.
Carney and health officials have pointed out that when the pandemic began, Delaware’s hospitalized nearly tripled in 10 days to 353. It was the spring peak of the pandemic and the most hospitalized. They don’t want to see the hospitalization numbers do that again, and say the state has 400 to 450 beds for COVID patients.
Among other details, the state said Friday:
- Delaware’s 30,816 positive cases include 16,900 in New Castle County, 4,324 in Kent County and 9,493 in Sussex County. The home county of 99 cases is unknown.
- Cases include 16,607 females; 14,158 males. The sex of 51 is unknown.
- Cases range in age from newborns to 104.
- There have been 362,466 negative cases.
- 659,454 total tests have been administered as of Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Because of the skyrocketing cases, Carney on Tuesday declared new restrictions that take effect Monday at 8 a.m. The governor said he did not want to shut down the economy by returning to Phase One because businesses needed to make as much money as they could to cope with the hits they’ve taken so far.
His restrictions, which he wrote into an amended executive order, include:
- Indoor gatherings in homes must be capped at no more than 10 people.
- Indoor gatherings at businesses or indoor spaces open to the public must be limited to the lesser of 30 percent of the venue’s stated fire capacity, or 50 people.
- Services in houses of worship are limited to 30 percent of capacity, up to 100 people. Additional capacity may be permitted with a plan approved by the Division of Public Health by emailing HSPcontact@delaware.gov.
- Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Additional capacity, up to a cap of 250 people, may be permitted with a plan approved by DPH.
- Restaurants must operate at no more than 30 percent of fire capacity indoors, with allowances for additional outdoor seating. Additionally, parties sitting at the bar must not exceed two people.
- Delawareans must always wear face coverings in gyms.
- Governor Carney’s order also prohibits Delaware youth sports organizations, teams and venues from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams, effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The order includes a provision prohibiting Delaware teams from traveling across states lines for tournaments.
Read his order here.
“These are difficult decisions, but we face a difficult and challenging winter,” Carney said in a press release. “We’re focused on protecting lives and targeting restrictions where we’re seeing spread of COVID-19.”