Carney says state likely needs more steps to stop spread of COVID

Gov. John Carney said the state has some difficult decisions to make as COVID-19 cases surge.
Gov. John Carney said the state has some difficult decisions to make as COVID-19 cases surge.

 

With Delaware now recording an average of 524 positive COVID-19 tests a day, Gov. John Carney said Tuesday that the state can expect new restrictions.

“We have to take measures to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Carney said during the state’s weekly COVID-19 press conference. “We have some big decisions to make this week as we assess the data.”

He was not more specific.

Asked if he would consider a shutdown that would affect one county but not another, Carney said, “It’s certainly something we prefer not to do.”

 

Among the bad news: Cases continue to rise, both in actual numbers and percentages; hospitalizations have more than doubled from 107 on Nov. 2 to 256 on Monday; hospitals say they need more staff to handle the flood.

Among the good news: Hospital stays are shorter because cases are less acute when they arrive and there are more treatments for patients; hospitals say they are confident they can handle the cases; testing has soared to more than 120,000 tests in November and as many as 10,000 in a day; the vaccine seems to be headed to states this month.

Carney said again that one reason the state wants to keep cases down is to protect hospital and health care resources. He’s said Delaware has 400 to 450 beds for COVID patients. He mentioned again Tuesday that Nemours Children’s Hospital has space for additional beds, but it would take a day or so for it to be set up.

The governor said that while the state seems to be protecting vulnerable populations better and the ages of those hospitalized are more spread out than they have been, most of those hospitalized are 65 or older.

 

“That’s a serious concern and one that drives us to think about ways to mitigate to prevent the continued spread of the virus across our state,” Carney said, “and we’ll be thinking about things that need to be done in addition to the mitigation effects that we announced before Thanksgiving.”

Carney said his goals include protecting first responders, the vulnerable and keeping children in schools.

The state Delaware State Education Association issued a statement Tuesday that said Delaware’s COVID statistics are impossible to read and apply at a district level. The Capital School District returned to online-only classes because of rising positive cases in Kent County.

The governor said Tuesday that “schools themselves are safe places.”

He also said, “We’ll be making more decisions to figure out what exactly we need to do with respect to the schools question.”

 

Among the numbers he announced Tuesday:

  • 16.4 percent of people being tested are positive, over seven days.
  • 6.8 percent of all tests ever given are positive.
  • 427,250 Delaware residents have been tested at least once.
  • 744,188 tests have been given.
  • 78,000 people have downloaded the state’s COVID-19 tracing app.
  • Kent County has a lower rate of positive tests as well as a lower rate of testing.

 

 

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