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Delaware implements new CDC isolation guidance as COVID cases numbers and testing demand remain high


The First State continues to see some of its highest COVID cases numbers in nearly a year.

The state’s 7-day average for new cases was over 1,000 for a third straight day, sitting at 1,011 as of Monday. The 7-day percentage of positive tests is closing in on 14% – now at 13.7%.

Hospitalizations remain over 400 at 421 with 51 people in critical condition.

Delaware's Division of Public Health announced Tuesday the state is implementing updated guidance from the CDC shortening the recommended time that people should isolate from 10 days to 5 days based on certain conditions and vaccination statuses.

The CDC’s new guidance lays out multiple scenarios for changed shortening isolation requirements.

  • For those who test positive for COVID-19 – but don’t have symptoms – the isolation period can be reduced from 10 days to 5 days as long as the
    person wears a mask around others (in and out-of-home) for at least 5 additional days. If you have a fever, remain in isolation until the fever resolves.
  • For close contacts who are unvaccinated, or more than 6 months out from their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or 2 months out from their single dose of Johnson & Johnson (without a booster), quarantine has been reduced from 10 days to 5 days, followed by mask use for an additional 5 days.
  • For close contacts who have received their booster shot, or are less than six months out from being fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna or are less than 2 months from their J&J vaccine, no quarantine is needed, but these persons should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure to the positive case.
  • For vaccinated close contacts who are not yet eligible for a booster - including students younger than 16 - no quarantine is needed. DPH is reviewing the guidance and evaluating its impact on the Test-to-Stay program.

The CDC also recommends for all those exposed, best practice would also include a COVID-19 test at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
Testing is way up in Delaware as the holidays start to wind down.

State officials say Curative did almost 50% more tests last week than the week before.

And with the New Year’s weekend approaching, sites that require appointments are largely booked Wednesday and Thursday and walk-up sites are experiencing long lines. Many sites will be closed Friday and Saturday for the holiday.

The COVID surge is having an impact on Delaware State’s basketball teams.

The DSU men have paused all activities – games and practices - until Jan 2. That means Wednesday’s game at Penn State is cancelled. DSU’s women also had their game at VCU Wednesday night cancelled.

Both teams are slated to resume action Sat. Jan. 8, but the school says those games and all home athletic events until Jan. 24 will be held without spectators.

DSU recently announced all students will need a COVID boost to return to campus, and it’s first two weeks of classes in January will be held virtually.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.