DOVER — As COVID-19 hospitalizations creep higher in Delaware, eight more cases of the delta COVID-19 variant were identified by the Delaware Division of Public Health laboratory through routine surveillance of test specimens over the past week.
The DPH lab sequenced 35 specimens within the past week, meaning 23% were found to be the delta variant strain. Other variants identified out of the 35 specimens include the alpha variant (six cases), the gamma variant (three cases) and the iota variant (two cases) while variants were not found in 16 of the specimens.
This is the first week the delta variant has been the predominant variant in the state. Delaware has recorded a total of 31 cases of the delta variant, which originated in India. Not every positive COVID-19 case is sequenced for variants, so the actual number of cases could be higher.
The delta variant is one of four variants, along with alpha, gamma and beta, considered a “Variant of Concern” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The DPH has sequenced 3,317 specimens for COVID-19 variant strains to date. The alpha variant, which originated in the United Kingdom, has been identified the most, with 962 cases found in the DPH lab.
Meanwhile the number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in Delaware is near its highest total in more than a month. The DPH reported 37 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Friday, reflecting data reported as of 6 p.m. Thursday.
Hospitalizations were at 42 a day prior — the first time they were above 40 since June 4. Hospitalizations have been slowly increasing since the state hit an all-time low of 14 on June 26.
Of those currently hospitalized, four cases are considered critical.
Two new COVID-19-related deaths were reported in the last week by the DPH, bringing the state’s total to 1,697. Both individuals were not fully vaccinated.
One was a resident of a long-term care center — the 760th COVID-19-related death in a long-term care facility. There have been a total of 2,759 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents.
Both of the COVID-19-related deaths were individuals from Sussex County. One was 72 years old and the other was 92 years old.
New Castle County has recorded the most COVID-19-related deaths with 847, followed by Sussex County’s 501 and Kent County’s 349.
Delaware is averaging 39 new cases of the virus per day over the last week. The state’s total amount of positives is up to 110,270 cases.
There have been 456 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in Delaware, less than 0.1% of Delawareans fully vaccinated.
The DPH said a breakthrough case is defined “as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more — although it does not mean that the infection actually occurred after vaccination.”