Delaware now at high COVID-19 community spread

By Tim Mastro
Posted 7/29/22

DOVER — All three of Delaware’s counties are now in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s red category as of Thursday, which means high levels of COVID-19 …

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Delaware now at high COVID-19 community spread

Posted

DOVER — All three of Delaware’s counties are now in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s red category as of Thursday, which means high levels of COVID-19 spread.

Over the past week, Delaware’s COVID-19 hospitalizations rose 22% from 129 to 165 hospitalizations — one of the primary indicators in determining community spread levels. During the week prior, July 18-24, 66% of Delaware’s total COVID-19 cases, and 75% of its hospitalized persons, had not received booster doses.

The Delaware Division of Public Health said its specific concern with these levels was the number of children younger than 18 years old who required hospital admission, including at least 16 children under age 5.

In addition, the seven-day average of cases steadily increased with a 20% positivity rate in lab-confirmed tests and 523 new positive cases on Friday. The division said that while these reported case numbers are high, at-home test results are not reported, meaning the incidence of illness in the community is likely much greater.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the emergence of the dominant BA.5 variant in the United States has fueled the rapid rise in cases since June. The agency said evidence suggests this variant spreads more easily than previous lineages of the virus.

As of July 5, more than 60% of Delaware’s sequenced test results that were positive for a variant strain of the virus were positive for BA.5. Public Health officials say this underscores the need to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.

“Data indicates that while the current vaccines may not be as effective in protecting you from getting infected by this powerful variant, they are highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” said Public Health interim director Dr. Rick Hong. “Further, the CDC has indicated that getting a vaccine now will not exclude you from getting the enhanced COVID-19 vaccine in the fall. It’s in your best interest to get any booster for which you are eligible now and the enhanced vaccine in the fall to ensure the best protection both now, and then.”

The division said it is asking Delawareans to follow key strategies to now that community spread is high:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Stay home if you are sick and get tested if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Visit de.gov/gettested for testing locations.
  • Get vaccinated and boosted when you are eligible to provide increased protection against severe illness and hospitalization.
  • If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for severe disease, self-test before being around them and wear a mask when indoors with them.
  • Turn to reliable sources for information and treatment options including de.gov/coronavirus.
  • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, contact your health care provider to determine any additional precautions or treatments for which you may qualify.