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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.

Delaware considers restrictions to slow spike in COVID cases

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney and State Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay blame a recent spike in COVID cases to indoor social gatherings - and floated the idea of adding new COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday.

Rattay says contact tracing has shown a weekend spike of back-to-back days with more than 300 documented cases is not due to spread within schools, but to indoor social gatherings—including weddings and house parties. 

“We have to get a handle on how we approach social activities, because this is how this virus is being transmitted and the recommendations are not going to be what people want to hear,” said Rattay.   

Among the recommendations Rattay outlined is restricting holiday dinners to only people within their own household. 

Delaware Division of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay on possible new COVID-19 restrictions

“We are looking at the possibility of new restrictions [sic] and we really have to target these interventions, these restrictions, as where we are seeing the spread,” she said. “So looking at reducing the number of people permitted at both public and private gatherings is on the list.”

When pressed, Carney did not give a definitive answer around what action might be taken to restrict indoor gatherings. 

“We might have to do something to get the attention of folks so it’s more top of mind,” said Carney.   

Carney adds he’s looking to neighboring states. Maryland is advising its citizens to avoid gatherings of more than 25 people. It also recently made the call to drop restaurant capacity from 75 to 50 percent. Delaware is currently allowing for 60 percent capacity in restaurants. 

Delaware saw 316 new positive cases on Saturday and 313 on Sunday. The state’s seven-day average is now just over 241.

Delaware has not had a day with more than 300 cases since May when the state saw two separate days with more than 400 cases, and it has never seen back-to-back days with more than 300.

Additionally, current statewide hospitalizations are now at 127—the highest since June 4.

Rattay notes the state is seeing an uptick of cases in more places throughout the state with the biggest uptick in New Castle County. Rattay lists zip codes in both New Castle and Sussex Counties as areas of concern.

Rattay notes there is minimal spread documented in schools and Carney says he wants to continue moving the state back towards in-person learning.

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