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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

All Delawareans should wear masks indoors again, says DPH

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Delaware Public Media
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It’s time to start wearing your face mask indoors again, even if you’ve already been vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

All of Delaware now has “substantial” community transmission, according to the CDC. The number of new cases have been rapidly climbing statewide.

 

Despite the state having a high rate of vaccination overall, many of Delaware’s population centers continue to struggle getting shots into arms.

 

Wilmington, Dover and Western Sussex County still see lower rates of vaccination compared to the state as a whole.

 

And that—along with the highly infectious Delta variant— has been driving an increase in transmission of COVID-19, says Division of Public Health’s director Dr. Karyl Rattay. 

 

“That is the key to turning this around. And there are a lot of folks out there who have not stepped forward and done the simple thing of getting vaccinated and protecting themselves and our state — and really, without our vaccination rates it is going to be hard to get out of this pandemic.”

 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only one percent of new cases are among fully vaccinated Delawareans.

 

Rattay adds even with the few breakthrough cases we’re seeing with vaccinated Delawareans, almost all of them avoid hospitalization and death.

 

The Kaiser Family Foundation data reports from the beginning of the year through the end of July, only 22 fully vaccinated individuals have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and only 8 have died — that’s out of a total 636 deaths this year.

 

Rattay says DPH is compiling their own data on the number of breakthrough cases to share with the public very soon. She notes the number of fully vaccinated individuals testing positive for COVID means they’ve gotten both of their vaccine doses (or one for the Johnson & Johnson shot) and two weeks have passed since the last dose.

 

A separate category is being developed to show “partially vaccinated” folks, people who may have gotten just one shot and missed their second dose.

 

Rattay says about eight percent of those getting vaccinated have “missed” their second dose. But, she adds, it's not too late, even getting the second dose two, three or six months from the first one will still be more effective in protecting you against the virus than one dose alone.

 

She says that’s important to note now, since the Delta variant is more infectious, and a single shot alone will be far less effective in protecting you from hospitalization or death.

 

So, the focus for DPH continues to be encouraging folks to be vaccinated, and focusing those efforts on those communities who haven't caught up with the rest of the state, such as Wilmington, Dover and Western Sussex County.

 

Rattay says building trust in those communities hesitant to get the shot will help increase those numbers. 

 

She says there are varying reasons for some of the groups resistant to vaccination. For example, some members of Delaware’s Black community have been historically distrustful of the medical community because of practices in the past.

 

DPH has been working with community leaders to help dispel myths and build trust in the vaccines, Rattay says they’ve gotten help from Doctors from different ethnic groups to do community outreach, record videos and more to help some of their own learn more about the benefits of the vaccine. 

Empowering health care providers is also a big priority. DPH has started offering care providers a toolbox of resources to help them with their vaccine resistant patients.

 

Rattay says people trust their doctors the most to give them sound guidance on vaccines, and they often have the vaccine ready to give out.

She adds unvaccinated Delawareans should be getting tested for COVID once per week — and the DPH will also be offering testing at its four fixed vaccination sites. Those locations include:

 

  • Georgetown Plaza Shopping Center in Georgetown

19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947
(At U.S. 113 and U.S. 9 intersection)

Monday/Wednesday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday/Thursday– 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

  • Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover

655 S. Bay Road, Suite 1A, Dover, DE 19901
(Office is located in the rear of building near the WIC entrance)

Monday-Thursday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

  • Oxford/University Plaza in Newark

256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702
(Located in the Oxford Building of University Plaza)

Monday-Thursday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

  • Canby Park in Wilmington

1946 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805
(Located in the Elizabeth Shopping Mall)

Monday/Wednesday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday/Thursday– 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

Testing will also continue to be offered at local pharmacies and rotating locations found on the DPH’s website.

 

The department also announced a new, take-home testing program in partnership with Delaware libraries. Anyone can visit one of Delaware’s libraries to pick up an at home testing kit to keep on hand in case their family needs it.

 

But if someone is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they should instead visit one of the community testing locations instead of going to the library.

 

Because Delaware is now in the “substantial” transmission category, Rattay says Delawareans should follow CDC guidance — wearing their face mask indoors in public settings, regardless of whether they’re vaccinated or not.

 

But right now, Rattay says the state is not considering bringing back a mask mandate. A few other states including Louisiana and Nevada have reinstated mask mandates after a rise in cases.

 

Rattay says this time, it’s up to Delawareans to decide when to end the outbreak, by ensuring they get fully vaccinated.

 

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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