As U.S. health officials announced over the weekend that 1 in 1,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, Delaware’s cases continue to increase and officials are waiting to see what effect Christmas and New Year’s celebrations will have.
The weekly roundup of numbers Friday said that 53,015 Delawareans had tested positive and new cases averaged 614 over a seven-day period. On Saturday, it recorded 572 new cases.
The number of those hospitalized dropped over the weekend, from 454 at the start of last week to 403 on Saturday. At the same time, the number of those in critical condition rose slightly to 64.
Health officials are most worried about hospitalizations, expected to rise after Christmas and New Year’s celebrations because more people will be exposed to the virus through travel and gatherings.
“While numbers of cases and hospitalizations appear to be lower over the last few days, that is likely due to lower numbers of people being tested last week and releases from hospitals prior to the holidays,” said Andrea Wojcik, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Division of Public Health on Monday. “We encourage people not make assumptions that this indicates a downward trend. DPH continues to be concerned that cases could spike again in the next two weeks as a result of holiday gatherings. “
Here is where to be tested during the week of Dec. 27.
The state has said it has about 450 hospital beds for those with COVID, but hospitals have implemented treatments and other measures designed to help people at home or move them out of the hospital more quickly. The treatments include monoclonal antibodies, which help the immune system fight the infection and are given to patients at home.
Nearly 900 people have died from COVID-19 in Delaware. The state said the numbers stood at 888 on Friday, but two more died Saturday. That includes cases added after death certificates were examined.
The state continues its call for people to avoid contact with others who do not live with them.
“It is no surprise that most Delawareans would be excited to welcome a New Year into existence, we implore you not to celebrate New Year’s Eve with others outside of your household,” Wojcik said. “Hosting New Year’s Eve parties for friends or extended families is potentially dangerous and could undermine all efforts to stop the spread that we have been seeing in our State over the last few weeks. We ask instead that you quietly celebrate the New Year with only those who live with you.”
Delaware has begun vaccinating healthcare workers, and shipments of Moderna’s vaccine and more of Pfizer’s were expected to continue arriving in the First State.
On Tuesday, New Castle County Chief of Emergency Medical Services Mark Logemann will be on hand as the first wave of his paramedics receive their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. The paramedics are the first group of New Castle County employees who will receive the vaccinations.
But the state also is urging everyone, including those who are being vaccinated to continue wearing a mask over the mouth and nose, social distancing, frequent handwashing and other hygiene measures to help reduce spread of the disease in the community.
The Delaware Division of Public Health has set up a Vaccine Call Center, which can be reached at 1-833-643-1715.