Coronavirus cases now surging in New Castle County as restrictions loom

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A large section of Delaware is now seeing a surge in coronavirus cases.

At the weekly Covid-19 press briefing, Gov. John Carney warned that the state is at an “inflection point.”

Public health officials are considering a variety of restrictive measures that are being used by other states.

Carney said he wants to avoid problems that included Pennsylvania shutting down liquor stores, a move that sent residents over the state line to Delaware.

This week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered restaurants to close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.In neighboring Maryland, Gov. Phil Hogan ordered that restaurants cut their capacity.

Recently, Delaware has been seeing upwards of 300 Covid-19 cases a day.

“We’ve got to get a handle on social gatherings,” saidDr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. Rattay said families need to consider the wisdom of holding Thanksgiving meals attended by family members who do not live in the same household.

Rattay said Delawareans need to do more to hold down the spread of Covid-19. Otherwise, the continued reopening of schools to in-person instruction will be in jeopardy.

Rattay noted that there are few examples of student-to-student transmission of the virus. Instead, the spread related to schools comes from the community itself.

Carney said plans do not call for pulling back on in-class instruction.

Rattay offered several examples of cases stemming from gatherings that range from school staff members eating lunch together to a traveling athletic team that dined together. A common method of transmission is group dining, where masks cannot be used.

The bulk of cases are taking place in indoor settings. Rattay did advise those who gathered outside the secured area in the acceptance speeches of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to take a coronavirus test.

According to Rattay, a large area of New Castle County sees a sizable increase in cases. She listed Bear, Stanton, New Castle, Newark (the 19711 zip code tied to the University of Delaware), Claymont, Middletown, and Townsend.

A large area of Sussex remains an area of concern. That area includes Seaford, Dewey-Rehoboth, Seaford, and, more recently, Georgetown. Earlier, western Sussex County had been an area of concern, with New Castle County having a lower incidence of cases.

Cases are increasing. In Kent County, but not to the extent seen in the other two counties, Rattay said.

On Wednesday the Delaware Department of Correction suspended visits to inmates, citing the threat of the virus spreading into the prison system.

The department is stepping up testing. Only two cases have been reported within the corrections system.

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