Kent and Sussex counties are now in the red zone for Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control county dashboard. Delaware counties had been in the lower green and yellow ones in recent months.
New Castle County is now in the yellow or moderate spread category. Counties bordering Delaware were generally in the moderate zone, the exceptions being Wicomico and Worcester counties which border Sussex.
The change was not unexpected with holiday travel and get-togethers as well as cold weather that keeps people inside.
Residents in counties in the red category are advised to wear masks in crowded indoor settings. Those in the yellow zone with compromised immune systems are advised to wear masks.
Covid-19 is one of a number of respiratory diseases that are hitting the nation late in the year.
As of mid-December, nearly 150 patients in Delaware were hospitalized with Covid-19, with about 10 of that number in critical condition.
Public health officials in Delaware have been advising residents to get their Covid booster and flu shots.
Portions of Kent and Sussex counties have the lowest Covid immunization rates in Delaware, due to factors that include the discredited argument that the vaccines are dangerous or ineffective.