Weekly Covid report: Surge continues in hospitalizations, new cases

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The surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations and cases continued over the past week, according to the weekly report from the Delaware Division of Public Health.

The seven-day average of new positive cases increased to 303.3 as of Thursday night. Daily cases had dipped below 50 before the recent surge driven by the faster-spreading Delta variant.  

As of Tuesday, the seven-day average for the percentage of total tests coming in positive was 7.9%, an increase from 6.2%. The percentage of positive tests had dropped to 1% earlier in the summer.

In addition, 165 individuals are hospitalized due to Covid in Delaware, an increase of 54 from last week. Twenty-nine of the hospitalized persons are critically ill, an increase of 19 from last week.

Hospitalizations had dropped below 20, with those in critical condition dropping below 10 before the summer surge. Last winter, hospitalizations hit a record 474.

A total of 1,851 Delawareans have died from complications from Covid-19. Four deaths were reported in the past week. The total number of individuals who have died from Covid-19 range from younger than 5 to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 936 were female, and 915 were male. A total of 915 individuals were from New Castle County, 387 were from Kent County, and 549 were from Sussex County.  

Booster shots

On  Aug. 13, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, the administration of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, the CDC endorsed that recommendation. As a result, providers may administer the third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to individuals in the following categories:  

  • Recipients of organ or stem cell transplants; 
  • People with advance or untreated HIV infection; 
  • Active recipients of treatment for cancer; 
  • People who are taking medications that weaken the immune system; and 
  • Others.

The third dose may only be administered at least four weeks (28 days) after completing the original two-dose vaccine series. This guidance does not apply to immunocompromised persons who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the FDA and CDC does not have adequate data to make the same recommendation.

Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised, and as a result, may benefit from a third dose of the mRNA vaccines. At this time, the CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population.   

Tests recommended after gatherings

Given the significant increase in recent COVID-19 cases and the large number of gatherings and events that traditionally take place this month, it is recommended that individuals get tested if they have attended a large public gathering such as a concert, community-based event, or any such event where social distancing was not possible, and the vaccination status of others is unknown. Tests are advised after attending large gatherings such as birthday parties, off-to-college parties, or weddings where people were in close contact, and you were unable to confirm vaccination status of those around you, especially if the gatherings were indoors.

COVID-19 Vaccinations:   

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 74.7% of Delawareans ages 18+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

As of Thursday, 1,091,585 administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been reported to the state’s immunization information system, DelVAX.

Among Delawareans 12-plus, 547,856 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 485,033 Delawareans are fully vaccinated. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.   

 COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:  

DPH provides a weekly breakdown of vaccination status for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in the Friday press releases.

This report captures the time frame for August 8 – August 15. In addition, the report highlights the significant percentage of cases and hospitalized individuals in Delaware who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.  

Weekly Overview
(8/9 -8/15) 
       
Unvaccinated Cases         
Total Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases  1451         
Total Cases  1828         
Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases  79%         
Hospitalizations         
Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases  91         
Total Hospitalized Cases  106         
Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases  86%         
Deaths         
Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Covid-19 Deaths         
Total Covid-19 Deaths         
Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Covid-19 Deaths  80%         

 

To date, 485,033 Delawareans have been fully vaccinated. Of those, there have been 1,236 breakthrough cases of Covid-19, occurring in approximately one-quarter of 1 percent of vaccinated individuals. The percentage is up from one-tenth of one percent a few weeks ago.

Thirty-six of the reported breakthrough cases identified since vaccinations began involved hospitalizations, and 14 individuals passed away, although it does not mean Covid-19 was the cause of death. Breakthrough cases continue to be extremely rare, given the total number of persons who are fully vaccinated.

A breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for Covid-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more – although it does not mean that the infection actually occurred after vaccination. 

Delta variant takes hold

As of Friday, August 20, the Division of Public Health has identified the following COVID-19 variants in Delaware through routine surveillance of test specimens. These variants are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest. 25 percent of the 34 test samples sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were five additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. This brings the total of variant positive samples to 39 for the week. All were identified as the Delta variant strain.  

Variants of Concern  
  
Variants of Interest  
Variant  
Origin  
# of Cases  
Variant  
Origin  
# of Cases  
Alpha/B.1.1.7   
United Kingdom  
1004  
Eta/B.1.525  
UK/Nigeria (formerly NEW York, US)  
2  
Beta/B.1.351   
South Africa  
1  
Iota/B.1.526/B.1526.1  
New York, US   
330  
Gamma/P.1  
Brazil  
63  
Epsilon/B.1.427  
California, US  
10  
Delta/B.1.617.2  
India  
144  
Epsilon/B.1.429  
California, US  
11  
   
   
   
   
       

 

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