Even though Delaware’s COVID State of Emergency is over, state officials remind residents to stay vigilant against the virus.
The State of Emergency was lifted on Tuesday, but state officials stress it doesn’t mean everyone can let their guard down when it comes to the virus.
This point was emphasized as the 7-day average of new cases rose to 29.1, and the 7-day average of positive tests rose to 1.8 percent, and hospitalizations have gone up to 27 after all of these numbers had recently reached pandemic lows.
The state has also seen increasing cases of the Delta variant of the virus. That number is up to 23.
State Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says it’s important for everyone to not let their guard down.
"Now that the State of Emergency has lifted and mask and social distancing are not required we really, really want to honestly beg everyone not to get lulled into believing that COVID is gone," said Rattay. "We are still seeing cases in Delaware and cases are increasing across the country."
Rattay notes the virus is mostly infecting those not vaccinated either by choice or they’re not eligible.
Meanwhile, state officials were not caught by surprise by recently updated guidance for schools.
The CDC released guidance for the 2021-22 school year late last week, and it says students and staff should wear face coverings until further notice.
When students are not in the building, staff may remove masks.
Social distancing should remain three feet between individuals when possible.
Rattay says the guidance also points to promoting vaccination, which the state plans to do.
"So the key takeaways are vaccination of eligible individuals is really so important to helping individuals safely return for in-person learning, extracurricular activities, including sports," said Rattay. "So vaccination we're going to continue to emphasize and work on that."
The guidance also calls for routine testing for those not vaccinated, mask-wearing on buses, and isolating or quarantining COVID positive students, but close contacts do not need to be quarantined if they are vaccinated.