Covid-19 update: Family gatherings and other get-togethers become area of concern

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Get-togethers with family members and others are becoming an area of concern as the state tracks coronavirus cases

Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said contact tracing investigations continue to show that cases are coming out of smaller events, not large gatherings, which are often illegal in Delaware.

Such events often have little mask-wearing with attendees going out into the community and potentially contributing to community spread.

Rattay spoke at Gov. John Carney’s weekly coronavirus briefing.

Rattay said evidence points to the virus being more easily spread indoors. In one case (not in Delaware) those who stayed outside did not test positive for Covid-19, while the opposite result was reported for those inside.

Rattay and Carney took note of a higher number of hospitalizations. The number hospitalized is a lagging indicator that always follows a higher number of people testing positive.

Carney said a portion of the higher number of admissions is due to more cases in long-term care facilities. Rattay added that the recent uptick in cases in all age groups is tied to hospitalizations, which tend to be a lagging indicator.

Rattay and Carney said no area of Delaware is a “hot zone” for coronavirus, but noted that some “warm spots” have cropped up in all three counties.

One bright spot is Newark, which is seeing a declining number of cases related to the University of Delaware students. UD has taken disciplinary actions that included suspending members of the swim and diving teams for attending a gathering.

Also discussed was the new measurement of counting the percentage of persons testing along with the percentage of positive tests. The percentage of total positive tests takes into account people who have been tested more than once.

As of Monday night, 5.3 percent of people tested positive in the seven-day rolling average (down two-tenths of a percent from the previous day) and 2.5 percent of total tests came up positive in the 7-day average (down one-tenth of a percent from the previous day).

On Monday night, three new deaths were reported – two individuals from New Castle County and one from Sussex County. All three individuals had underlying health conditions and ages ranged from the 60s-90s. The three deaths increased Delaware’s total number of COVID-related deaths to 659.

The number of new positive cases was 104, a drop from the more than 130 seen in recent days.

Delaware Emergency Management Director, A.J. Schall reported that the state is ramping up testing and is nearing or reaching a “stretch goal” of 18,000 weekly tests. Testing is being stepped up as more teachers and students return to the classroom.

For more data, including breakdowns by age, sex, race/ethnicity, at the statewide, county, and, in some cases, ZIP code or census tract level: https://myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/locations/state

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