Fears of a COVID-19 winter surge in Delaware seem to be validated by quickly escalating numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent weeks.
Vaccinations, while rising, are not keeping pace with the number of cases, hospitalizations and death, which are largely among partially or unvaccinated.
The good news: The state has not yet found any cases of the fast-spreading Omicron variant originally found in Africa.
Against that backdrop, Gov. John Carney said in a Friday press release that he’s extended again the Public Health Emergency order another 30 days. That allows the state and medical providers to continue COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs, he said.
“With colder weather and more indoor gatherings, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases,” he said. “Children ages 5 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and we need to get more of our younger Delawareans vaccinated.”
Delaware has now seen 155,149 cases of COVID-19 since March 11, 2o20.
The number of new cases in the week ending Thursday was 432.7, up from 377 last week; 329.6 the previous week and 271.9 one month ago.
Positive test numbers also soared to 8.3%, up from 7.1% last week; 7.45% the previous week and 5.4% one month ago.
Hospitalizations on Thursday were at 266, up 107 from last week. Of those, 32 were critically ill, down 12 from last week.
In the last week, 21 people were reported dead from COVID-19, including nine from a review of death records, bringing the state total to 2,194.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 61.8% of Delawareans are fully vaccinated. Also: 77.75 of those 5 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine. So have 83.7% of those 12 and older and 85.6 % of those 18 and older.
Delaware also has seen 7,633 breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people. Although that’s only 1.4% of the cases, it has meant 127 hospitalizations and 98 deaths.
All Delaware cases of COVID-19 that can be identified are the Delta variant, the state said.
The state will continue to watch and test for Omicron, a press release said. Public Health officials continue to recommend that people get vaccinated and if fully vaccinated, get a booster shot to raise their immunity levels as high as possible.
“Delawareans who are 5 years and older who have not received the vaccine should do so as soon as possible,” the press release said. “This is especially important for our youngest eligible Delawareans, as they currently have the highest COVID-19 case rates.”
For more information about where to get a vaccine, go to de.gov/getmyvaccine.
For more information about where to be tested, go here.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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