State keeps eye on delta Covid-19 variant as daily case numbers rise from pandemic lows

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“We’re in a much better place,” a cautiously optimistic Gov. John Carney said at Covid-19 briefing and town hall event Tuesday night.

The streamed update was held on the same day governor ended a 16-month State of Emergency.

The less frequent town halls will replace the weekly and, for a short period, twice-weekly Covid-19 briefings that spanned a period of 16 months.

Seventy-one percent of the state’s adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, with the figure rising to 94 percent among the state’s large 65-plus population.

Despite the positive Covid-19 numbers, Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay warned that Delaware residents shouldn’t “get lulled into thinking it has gone away.”

In the past few weeks, the percentage of positive tests, the number of daily cases, and hospitalizations had risen from figures a few weeks ago.

Still, the state has not seen any Covid-19 deaths in more than a week. Deaths that have occurred in recent weeks came from those who were not vaccinated.

Rattay and Carney would not rule out an outbreak in Delaware in the summer and the fall, especially among the 18-35 age group which has a low vaccination rate.

One troubling sign is an increase in the number of positive tests that detect the fast-spreading Delta (India) variant

Rattay pointed to an outbreak at a gymnastics meet in Oklahoma that affected one in five in attendance. However, e. Rattay noted that a lack of masks and a large number of unvaccinated individuals contributed to the outbreak linked to the variant.

Carney said young unvaccinated adults frequenting clubs, bars, and other indoor settings should wear masks due to the low vaccination rates among that group.

Carney appeared to rule out resuming the State of Emergency other restrictions.

“We can’t afford to go backward,” he said.

A top priority for the state is getting children back into the classroom, with Rattay noting she was comfortable with the Centers for Disease Control guidance on the subject. However, there has been some criticism of the CDC’s stance on in-person attendance.

Carney admitted that all parties have a “lot of work to do” in ensuring a good environment for students and make up for the loss of in-person time.

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