As Delaware receives its first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, state officials continue to worry about the level of spread and number of hospitalizations throughout the state.
Gov. John Carney today showed serious concern during his weekly COVID-19 press briefing about the number of hospitalizations throughout the state as that number nears 400.
Things started ramping up in October and really accelerated after Halloween,” Carney said.
And then we got a double dose after the Thanksgiving celebration.”
Over the last week, the state has seen 41 new coronavirus-related hospitalizations, putting the number of current hospitalizations at 376, 62 considered critical cases.
In previous press briefings, the state has claimed that Delaware hospitals have the capacity to care for 400-500 hospitalizations, depending on the day.
To note the severity of the increase, Carney showed that on Nov. 2 the state was at 107 hospitalizations; by Dec. 4 the state had reached 306.Three days after that, hospitalizations had reached 338, trumping the April 17 peak of 337.
To remedy these numbers, the state is looking to decompress the hospitals, which partially entails working with hospitals to open up facilities to meet the surge.
Hospitals are also reducing the number of non-urgent procedures and prioritizing elective surgeries if hospitalizations continue to rise.
Currently, 22.6 percent of persons being tested are coming back positive, which equates to a seven-day moving average of 819.4 new cases per day.
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, expressed concern about the level of uncontrolled spread throughout the state.
The state has continuously moved the goal posts in regard to what are areas of concern. Right now, those criteria remain at 500 cases per 100,000 people.
Even with these criteria, most of the state is blue, indicating that they’re at least hitting those numbers.
Rattay pointed to some areas of the state that are well past the criteria. The Wilmington ZIP codes of 19801 and 19805 are seeing numbers above 800 cases per 100,000, as are Smyrna, Frederica and Frankford.
There’s no area of the state that is untouched,” she said. “There’s also no real pattern. It really goes to show that COVID-19 is really everywhere in the state right now.”
Carney said that young people without symptoms should be extra-cautious when deciding whether to visit family and friends, because this group is largely driving the surge in the state.
The state is cautioning residents from visiting family and friends during winter holiday gatherings, and that people who are still planning to do so should begin to quarantine today.
Rattay also recommended that people should acquire and submit a rapid test a few days before they plan to gather so they can get the results prior to the event.