The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Delaware has risen to 603.9, up dramatically from 432.9 last week.
That’s fueling a rise in hospitalizations, which hit 317, up 51 from last week.
In turn, that’s one of the reasons that ChristianaCare announced this week it would begin postponing elective surgeries. The hospital also cited non-COVID-related hospitalizations.
That includes the flu, which had 84 cases reported in the most recent week. As of Dec. 4, there have been 125 laboratory-confirmed cases for the current season — but only a fraction of flu cases are laboratory confirmed. Many are diagnosed by rapid test kits in a doctor’s office or through the if-it-quacks-like-a-duck method, meaning there’s likely hundreds to thousands more circulating.
The flu cases involved 79 people from New Castle County, 12 from Kent County and 34 from Sussex County.
Public health officials blame the rise in respiratory diseases on the return of cold weather and more indoor activities, as well as the easy spread of the Delta variant, even in the face of rising vaccinations.
So far, the state has not detected a case of the Omicron variant, which has moved across the world from Africa and is said to be more infectious that Delta, but not more deadly.
To combat COVID-19, the state is recommending people be vaccinated if they are 5 or older, and get a booster shot if they are eligible. Everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible.
Next week, the state will launch a new program that will send pharmacy employees and other into people’s home to give them COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to help people with mobility or transportation issues be as protected as possible.
The state also recommends flu vaccines, which are widely available.
The Delaware Division of Public Health reported Friday that the seven-day average for the percentage of total positive tests also rose to 9.2%, up from 8% last week.
Of those hospitalized, 33 are critically ill, up only one from last week.
The state has seen 2,211 deaths reported, including 17 in the last week.
At the same time, the percentage of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated continue to creep up to 62.6%, up from 61.8% last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In other vaccination numbers, those 5 and older who have received at least one dose of vaccine is 78.8%, up from 77.7%; those 12 and over with one dose is 84.6%, up from 83.7%; and those 18 and older is 86.6%, up from 85.6%.
The number of breakthrough cases also continue to rise, with 8,341, or 1.5% of fully vaccinated individuals. That’s caused 132 hospitalizations and 1o2 death.
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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