WILMINGTON — Gov. John Carney said he hopes Delaware will never have to declare a COVID-19 State of Emergency again, as Tuesday marked the first day the state was not under a State of Emergency Order since it was originally signed on March 12, 2020.
Instead, Delaware is now under a Public Health Emergency order, signed by Gov. Carney on Monday. This allows COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs to continue.
“We’re not going to be able to go back, unless if it gets really bad,” Gov. Carney said during a virtual town hall on Tuesday night. “We’ll keep our eyes on the conditions on the ground in terms of the number of positive cases and the percent-positive. But our numbers right now are quite low.”
Delaware is averaging 29.1 new positive cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days, which is the highest mark in the last two weeks but still near a historical low when compared to the rest of the pandemic. The DPH reported 17 new positives in Tuesday’s update, brining the overall total to 110,112.
The state has not recorded a new COVID-19-related death in more than a week as that total number has remained at 1,695.
Delaware’s seven-day rolling average for percentage of positive tests is at 1.8% — well below the World Health Organization’s recommended mark of 5%. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is at 27, down from a recent spike to 39 and slightly higher than the all-time low of 14 which was set on June 26.
Public Health and state officials have credited Delaware’s vaccination program for allowing the state to get to a place where the State of Emergency order could be lifted. Delaware was one of 20 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam, to reach President Joe Biden’s July 4 goal for vaccinating 70% of their adult population.
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said the state will continue its vaccine outreach and encouraged unvaccinated individuals to either get vaccinated or take the necessary precautions.
“Getting vaccinated is really the key,” Dr. Rattay said. “None of us have any desire to go backwards and getting vaccinated is key to prevent that. If for whatever reason you’re not vaccinated, you’re not eligible or you chose not to be, we know what works — wearing a mask and social distancing works.”
A list of vaccination sites is available by visiting here.
The state is also prepping if booster shots for those who have already been vaccinated are necessary, which is currently being studied by pharmaceutical companies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are poised and ready to do another big vaccination campaign if we need to do booster shots for Delawareans,” Dr. Rattay said. “These vaccines are effective and the immunity seems to be lasting longer than what was expected which really is fantastic news. I don’t think any of us will be surprised if we do need a booster shot. But we just don’t know if and when that will happen at this point.”
The new Public Health Emergency order authorizes the DPH to direct COVID-19 vaccination, treatment and mitigation measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Delaware National Guard may also provide support under the direction of the director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
Per the order, Delaware providers that offer COVID-19 vaccinations must do so at no out-of-pocket cost to individuals. All health care providers, facilities and entities that offer vaccinations shall make those vaccinations available to any person meeting the vaccination criteria without regard to that person’s ability to pay, type of health insurance or participation in any particular provider network.