Covid cases decline as guidance changes for those getting the virus

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The Delaware Division of Public Health reported s that the seven-day average of new positive Covid-19 cases has declined since the previous monthly update in July.

 However, Covid-19 is still around in Delaware and at higher levels in some counties. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Covid  Levels data tracker, case levels in Kent and Sussex counties are considered high, while case levels in New Castle County are listed in the medium range.

The  CDC  updated its Covid-19 guidelines related to isolation and quarantine. Delaware public health officials have met with community leaders to discuss the changes and considered the concerns of the community as public health adjusts to the new guidelines. presented by the CDC.

The CDC indicated its updates were a result of information learned as the pandemic has evolved.  The agency indicates that several factors have led to increased levels of overall protection against the virus, including high levels of vaccination (the majority of Americans have at least one dose of the vaccines), as well as infection-induced immunity, the availability of COVID treatments and prevention tools such as masking.   

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There were no changes to guidelines regarding isolation (staying home for five days if you test positive for COVID), except to offer an early end to masking during the second five days after leaving isolation.

If you wish to end mask use early (day 8) you are advised to take two antigen tests, 48 hours apart, with the first test coming  on day 6.  If both tests come back negative, you can discontinue masking on day eight.  If either test comes back positive, continue masking.

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you should mask for 10 days regardless of vaccination status as it can take up to 10 days after exposure to become positive for Covid-19, but you are no longer asked to stay home if you are not up-to-date with vaccines. The updated guidance also places additional emphasis on improving ventilation in indoor spaces.

DPH stated that Delaware data supports the rationale leading to the updated guidance. At its peak on January 11, DPH reported a seven-day daily case  average of 3,339.4 new positive cases.

As of Thursday, DPH reported a seven-day daily average of 279.4 COVID-19 cases. Delawareans have been urged  to continue practices such as masking in crowded indoor spaces, isolating themselves when feeling sick, getting vaccinated, testing, and following the CDC’s guidelines if you have a positive test result. 

The  data below was reported on Delaware’s My Health Community data portal on Thursday, Aug. 18.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations: 

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 299,822
  • 7-day daily average of new positive cases: 279.4, a decrease of 27.3 average new positive cases reported since July 15, 2022
  • 7-day daily average for the percentage of total positive tests: 18.4 percentage points, an increase of 0.9 percentage points reported since July 15, 2022
  • Hospitalizations: 172 current hospitalizations; critically ill: 16
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 3,036, an increase of 28 since last month

Case and testing data are based on reporting of lab-confirmed Covid 19 tests only. The number of COVID-19 cases in the community is higher than what is reported because of the use of home test kits. 

Vaccine updates

The Novavax vaccine is now available in Delaware, including at DPH clinics. 

In July, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Novavax. It is considered a protein subunit vaccine type, and is similar to currently approved vaccines for Hepatitis B and whooping cough (pertussis).  Novavax is recommended for people 18 years and older, and is offered in a two-dose series, given at least three weeks apart.  It is not yet recommended as a booster, or recommended to mix and match with other vaccines.  To find a Novavax vaccine, visit vaccines.gov and search for Novavax.

While similar to  flu vaccines, Covid-19 vaccines may not prevent all infections, they still prevent some and are primarily responsible for preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Both hospitalizations and deaths are significantly lower than in the beginning of the pandemic, prior to vaccine availability. The latest information from the CDC indicates that a bivalent booster, designed to protect against both the original strain of COVID-19 and Omicron-specific variant strains, may be available by mid-September. Current information, which is subject to change, is that this is a booster that will only be available to those who have completed their primary series. Initially, it is also not believed to be authorized for use in children under age 12.  DPH encourages individuals who have not completed their primary series (gotten both doses of a two-dose vaccine) to do so now, and for parents who may have been waiting, to vaccinate their children using the currently available vaccine options.  DPH has begun reaching out to enrolled vaccine providers to place pre-orders for the vaccine so they are ready for shipment once the FDA issues an EUA for the bivalent booster.

Here is the latest COVID-19 vaccine data for Delaware, as of Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022.

 COVID-19 Vaccinations:   

Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,882,646 

Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 74.8%  

Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 79%   

Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 80.5%  

Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 70.7%   
  

All qualifying Delawareans should get vaccinated. For a location near you, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine. 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: 

The following reports capture a weekly breakdown of non-boosted cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for the time frame of Aug 8 – Aug 14, 2022. 

Weekly Overview
(08/08/22 – 08/14/22) 

Non-boosted Cases 

Total Non-boosted Cases 

1,384 

Total Cases 

2,068 

Percent of Non-boosted Cases 

67% 

Non-boosted hospitalized cases 

Total non-boosted hospitalized cases 

147 

Total hospitalized cases 

205 

Percent of non-boosted cases 

71% 

 

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