Delaware is seeking federal help in dealing with a surge in Covid-19 tests and hospitalizations.
Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director AJ Schall said the request comes in response to situations that include individuals not being able to get out of already full hospital for recovery care.
Schall spoke at Gov. John Carney’s press briefing on Tuesday.
Schall said he does not know the level of assistance that will be offered from federal agencies. In some states, it has taken te form of mass testing sites.
The state is seeing 40% or more Covid-19 tests coming in positive, a sign of the presence of the fast-spreading Ombron variant. the surge is taxing of the ability of state and private labs to handle the workload.
Schall, Carney and Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay noted that testing is exceeding demand, but is also affected by people who do not need a test and are clogging the system.
Instances cited include individuals who test positive and get multiple tests at public site or others who get tests without symptoms. The general advice is for individuals with symptoms and/or a positive test to stay home.
Home tests, while in tight supply, are another option.
Supply exceeds demand
According to the emergency director, the state has the capacity to test 60,000 people a week, with privatre providers also additional capacity.
Schall did say that the Omicron varient is affecting staffing at test sites, with some people getting the virus. Snow all shut down many if not most sites on Monday.
The message from Carney and Rattay at the briefing was wear masks, get vaccinated and unncessary social events that Omicron attacks.
Ratty strongly suggested that individuals who are on the fence about getting vaccinations to talk to a trusted source such as a physician.
Delaware is expecting the surge in cases to continue, due in part to New Year’s parties.
Rattay said the fact that the Omicron variant is so easily spread through the air is ample reason to wear masks, with those wearing surgical masks to use a cloth mask to provide a greater degree of protection.
She went on to suggest individuals do their homework on the proper type of mask and ensure that the product is not a knock-off with minimal protection.
On Monday, Carney’s State of Emergency went into effect. The declaration allows 100 specially trained National Guard members to take on medical duties related to fighting the virus.
Carney earlier indicated that the state would work to operate convalescent centers for less seriously ill patients to take the burden off hospitals operating at full capacity.
Also, on Monday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also made an emergency declaration dispatching 1,000 Guard members to deal with the hospitalization surge.
Another governor in a neighboring state, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, ordered a drive-up testing site in Yeadonn Delaware County north of the Philadelphia International Airport. A small portion of the county borders the state of Delaware.
To date, the ratio of hospitalizations to new cases is not running at the rate seen a year ago when vaccinations were just getting underway.
No business restrictions were announced at the briefing. .
East Coast governors, including Carney, have recently shied away from business restrictions, leaving those decisions to mayors of larger cities.
Some Delaware restaurants and other small businesses have temporarily closed or have announced shorter hours of operation due to staffing issues often related to Covid-19.
East Coast governors, including Carney, have shied away to business restrictions, leaving those decisions to mayors and health officials in larger cities.
However, a mask mandate remains for all schools and indoor state government sites.
A rebroadcast of the briefing is available below.