DOVER — With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Delaware, state officials are encouraging unvaccinated individuals to get tested once a week.
“While vaccination is the best way to put an end to this pandemic, routine COVID-19 testing remains key for those who have not yet taken that step, or who are unable to be vaccinated,” said Gov. John Carney in a statement. “Our cases are increasing, and we need to do all we can to catch any potential surges as early as possible so we can do contact tracing and stop the spread of the virus immediately.”
The Delaware Division of Public Health also recommended that unvaccinated individuals get tested five to seven days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 and quarantine at home. If an unvaccinated person develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should isolate at home immediately, according to DPH.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends fully vaccinated persons get tested three to five days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine after exposure, in accordance with CDC guidance.
CDC also recommends that anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. A full list of testing sites in Delaware is available here.
DPH also announced a partnership with the state’s libraries to allow Delawareans to visit most library locations and pick up a take-home rapid COVID-19 test kit. Library cards are not required to pick up a test.
If an individual has symptoms of COVID-19, they should not come to a library for a kit. Instead, they should visit one of the other fixed or community testing locations.
COVID-19 cases steadily climbed in Delaware during the month of July, and the state is averaging 116.9 new cases per day over the last week — the highest mark since May 18. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is up to 45, the most since June 3.
“With COVID-19 cases climbing again daily, it is very important that you get tested weekly if you are not vaccinated in order to identify and stop the spread of COVID,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH’s director. “This will also help us identify infection among people with no symptoms and allow them to take steps to ensure they are not unknowingly spreading the disease to people who may be more likely to get incredibly sick from the virus.”
DPH continues to encourage vaccinations as the best way to stop the spread of the virus.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the delta variant,” DPH said in a statement. “Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild. With COVID-19 cases increasing in the state and nation, and the majority of cases occurring among unvaccinated individuals, All Delawareans 12-years-old and older are urged to get vaccinated if they have not already received their COVID-19 vaccine.”
Delawareans can find a vaccination site by visiting here.
Of Delaware’s 67 ZIP codes, 13 have less than 40% of their populations fully vaccinated. Seven ZIP codes have more than 60% of the population fully immunized, including two above 70%.
Lewes has the best mark in the state with 74.2%, followed by 19971 (Rehoboth and Dewey beaches) at 72.5%. Other ZIP codes above 60% are the 19807 ZIP code of Wilmington (69.1%), Ocean View (67.9%), Hockessin (67.2%), Milton (62.7%) and Wilmington’s 19803 area (60.8%).
The worst vaccination rate belongs to Delmar with 28.2% of its population fully inoculated. Next is Ellendale at 30.9%, followed by Laurel at 31.5%, Hartly at 32% and Greenwood at 32%.
Felton (39.3%), Dover’s 19901 ZIP code (38.5%), Harrington (38%), Seaford (37.9%), Georgetown (37.8%), Frederica (36%), Wilmington’s 19802 ZIP code (36%) and Bridgeville (35%) are also under the 40% mark, according to DPH data. Six ZIP codes — Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach, Harbeson, Houston, Viola and Marydel — do not have vaccination data available to protect privacy due to their smaller populations.
A total of 519,869 individuals have been fully vaccinated in Delaware, according to DPH’s vaccine tracker as of Monday at 11:59 p.m. An additional 68,326 persons are partially vaccinated and awaiting their second dose of a two-dose vaccine series. These totals include non-Delawareans who were eligible to be vaccinated in the state because they either work or receive their health care here.