State of Delaware officials offered recommendations regarding gatherings for the Christmas holiday in hopes that a second holiday spike in COVID-19 cases can be avoided.
The suggestions included:
- Consider who you’re inviting into you home (Are they at risk? Are they putting you at risk?)
- Everyone gathering should be tested prior to the gathering
- Keep the number as limited as possible
- Wear face masks while you’re inside with people from outside of your household
- Have non household members dine in separate areas
- Open windows and doors for ventilation and tell people to dress warmly because of the air flow
- Social distance, at least 6 feet apart
- Those attending should have been self-quarantining before now.
- After the gathering, Quarantine for 7 to 10 days after after the gathering and get tested 5-7 days after the gathering
The state recommendations came during Gov. John Carney’s weekly COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday as Carney and state officials talked about the state of COVID-19 cases, testings, treatments, hospitalizations and more.
The state’s coronavirus numbers are just starting to level off from the spike the state saw in connection with the Thanksgiving holiday, officials said.
Hospitalizations, a lagging indicator, has reached another all-time high this week of 433 with 61 in critical condition.
“We’re imploring every Delawarean to think about how they celebrate Christmas this year,” Carney said. “We cannot afford to have another surge on top of the surge.”
For weeks Carney has warned that the state only has the capacity for 400-500 hospitalizations. Opening a field hospital likely would not help because it needs staffing and no one wants to take people out of the hospitals now.
Even with all the warnings and please, state officials know that people are still going to gather with others who don’t live with them, said Rattay.
“We hope that most people follow that guidance,” Rattay said, “But we saw from Thanksgiving that numerous people did not.”
She described data that showed that 50% of people who went to Thanksgiving dinner with others became infected with the virus, making it a super-spreader day for the state. One reason that happened, she said, is because people were together for long times, eating, drinking and chatting.
Rattay said she knows it’s hard to have conversations with family members about not gathering, especially older people who essentially are alone.
But they’re necessary, she said.
“We saw a significant surge after Thanksgiving,” Rattay said, and the state cannot handle another 200 hospitalizations on top of what it’s treating now.