HARRINGTON — Sussex County was recently flagged as a substantial COVID-19 transmission area by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This means that, per its guidelines, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask indoors in public.
Kent and New Castle counties are identified at moderate risk.
However, while visiting the Delaware State Fair in Harrington on Thursday, Gov. John Carney said he does not have any plans to reinstate a mask mandate anywhere in the state.
“We’ve obviously been paying attention to the rise in cases,” he said. “Some say it’s dramatic if it doubles, but if you double on a small number, it’s still a small amount. So we’re still in pretty good shape.”
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long joined Gov. Carney, walking through exhibits and livestock barns and connecting with local farmers and residents.
“We are concerned with certain areas and ZIP codes in western Kent County and in western Sussex, particularly as we’re seeing the delta variant uptick,” Lt. Gov. Hall-Long said. “We really want to encourage people in those areas. You can come to the fair. You can come in, get your favorite lemonade and ice-cream cone and be vaccinated (while attending).”
Fairgoers who have not been vaccinated can receive COVID-19 shots at the event. The Delaware Building is accepting walk-ins 2-8 p.m. each day.
Gov. Carney said their focus is on getting younger populations immunized, in preparation for schools reopening as early as next month. Delaware recently achieved a 70% vaccination rate overall, but rates among people aged 35 and younger are significantly lower.
“It’s gonna be slower because those who are left are not as motivated. They don’t feel as at risk, and they’re hesitant for one reason or another,” the governor said.
Gov. Carney said the state’s efforts are door-to-door now, and its message will be targeting individuals, rather than large groups. He said they are mostly monitoring cases and vaccine rates, as hospitalizations are “manageable” at present.
States like California and New York recently said that state workers will be required to be vaccinated. But Gov. Carney said Delaware isn’t a state where those requirements are necessary right now.
“We’ll have to monitor the case rates and the increases and the vaccination rates,” he said. “Hopefully, the greater awareness around the delta variant will incentivize people to get vaccinated.”