In the midst of a winter surge, the COVID-19 delta variant continues to dominate in Delaware, as the state is seeing its highest average of new daily cases and percent of positive cases in all of 2021.
The state is seeing concerning trends among many of its key COVID-19 metrics: The weekly average of new positive cases increased by 28%, according to state data as of Dec. 24. The weekly average of the percent of positive cases is hovering at 10.9%, which is the highest it has been in at least a year.
Hospitalizations jumped by 10% last week and the state broke its record twice for daily COVID-19 cases reported that week. There were 1,591 cases reported on Christmas Eve, the highest ever, which surpassed the Dec. 23 record of 1,379.
The fast-spreading omicron variant is creating a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases. Here in Delaware, the delta variant is still the predominant strain. The state has confirmed 37 cases of the omicron variant, as of late last week.
ZIP codes in Kent and Sussex counties are seeing the highest rate of new positive cases, according to state data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the vaccine, and its booster, is the best way to protect yourself against the virus. Health officials are urging people to not travel unless they are fully vaccinated.
If gathering during the holiday season, the state recommends getting tested one to two days before celebrating with people from multiple households. Those who are unvaccinated should wear a mask when indoors, same with people who have weakened immune systems.
If you are feeling sick, regardless of the kinds of symptoms, experts are urging people to not attend or host holiday functions.
Hospitals are more stressed now than at any point during this pandemic, resulting in hospital CEOs sounding the alarm. Patients are being treated in hallways, due to health systems being so full due to non-COVID-19 conditions requiring hospitalization. And staffing shortages continue as health care workers, particularly nurses, are burnt out and exhausted.
HOSPITALS SOUND THE ALARM:This winter’s COVID surge could be worse as Delaware hospitals deal with staffing issues
A vast majority of the COVID-19 patients who have needed to be hospitalized, as well as died, are people who are unvaccinated.
Gov. John Carney made a public plea last week for Delawareans to wear masks in public and crowded settings. But he stopped short of mandating it. He said he will consider “restrictive measures” short of closing businesses.
“At the end of the day,” Carney said, “it comes down to how do you get people to do things that, in many cases, they don’t want to do?”
Contact Meredith Newman at (302) 256-2466 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MereNewman.