The state saw a startling increase in cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 this week.
Hospitalizations for the virus nearly doubled over the past two weeks—topping 100 Thursday and reaching a level not seen since June. COVID-related hospitalizations peaked in April at more than 330 statewide.
The weekly average for new daily cases stayed above 130 this week, the highest it’s been since mid-July. The state added more than 900 new cases and 9 COVID-related deaths this week.
The percent testing positive let up slightly in recent days, but the weekly average sat at 6.6 percent Thursday.
State public health officials continue to track outbreaks of the virus at several long-term care facilities. The state approved a number of facilities to start allowing indoor visits again last month.
But Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said Tuesday visitation is not a factor in the outbreaks, as the facilities where outbreaks are happening had not re-started visitation yet.
“But we do know when you see increases in community spread, that can translate into increases in staff and others that bring the infection into long-term care,” Rattay said.
Rattay said the focus is on making sure facilities test staff weekly and enforce infection prevention strategies—and not on limiting outside visitors.
“It is possible, if we continue to see significant increases in community spread and increases in outbreaks in long-term care that we would need to revisit those indoor visitation policies, but we are not there right now,” she said.
In the past week, 7 more residents have tested positive at Kentmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington, 3 more at Cadia Healthcare in Talleyville and 2 more at Country Rest Home in Greenwood. As of Thursday, Kentmere had seen 53 cases among residents and 37 among staff since the state began tracking the outbreak there. Cadia had seen 44 cases among residents and 27 among staff. Country Rest Home had seen 28 among residents and 15 among staff.
Harrison House Senior Living in Georgetown, Genesis Healthcare’s Milford Center and Brandywine Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wilmington have still had the most COVID-related deaths among long-term care facilities since the pandemic began.
Harrison House, which is licensed by the state for 139 beds, had 41 COVID-related deaths. Genesis Healthcare’s Milford Center, licensed for 136 beds, had 36 deaths, and Brandywine Nursing and Rehab, licensed for 169 beds, had 34.
The state Division of Public Health is announcing statewide aggregate data on COVID-19 cases among students and staff who were in-person at a school while potentially infectious.
In private K-12 schools, as of Thursday 15 students and 11 staff members had tested positive and been on campus while potentially infectious since Sept. 1.
In public schools, 11 students and 43 staff members tested positive and were on campus while possibly infectious since Sept. 1.
Sussex County Vocational Technical School District announced Friday that two staff members had tested positive and that people in contact with the staff members had been notified individually.
Sussex Tech’s campus will be closed Monday and Tuesday for a deep cleaning and reopen Wednesday, Oct. 14. The District says classes and meetings will continue to be held remotely during that time.
This story has been updated.