Four new coronavirus-related deaths announced as confirmed cases pass 1,200
Delaware reported four new deaths and 93 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday.
The latest deaths involve an 82-year-old male resident of a long-term care facility in New Castle County, a 63-year-old New Castle County woman, as well as two Sussex County men, one aged 66 and the other 57— the youngest person to die in connection to the virus so far. All four had underlying health conditions.
The total number of virus-related deaths in the state now stands at 23. Delaware has seen 1,209 lab-confirmed cases since March 11. There currently 169 hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Delaware, including both residents and non-residents of the state. Forty-three patients are critically ill.
Delaware’s Department of Correction says three additional correctional officers tested positive for COVID-19—two more at Vaughn prison and one at Baylor women’s prison. To date, a total of 9 correctional officers have tested positive.
State officials expect the number of cases and hospitalizations to continue to rise in the coming days — but Gov. John Carney emphasized during a press briefing Thursday the lack of predictability.
“The further out we get, I think the more uncertain we are about the numbers," he said. "I would have been delighted to be able to tomorrow in here today and say that our peak was yesterday, or that I think our peak is going to be tomorrow, or that I even think that the peak is going to be next week. I think one of the questions that we're all struggling with is where is that peak? And how will we know when we get there?”
Carney said identifying the peak is important for deciding when to lift what he called “very, very damaging restrictions” on parts of Delaware’s economy under his State of Emergency.
State emergency management director A.J. Schall says the state has received some personal protective equipment from federal partners.
“Do we have everything we need?" he said. "No. There are some items that we have less than probably a five- to seven-day supply of in the warehouse at this time. The hospitals across the state, the daily burn rate right now just for the facemask— the surgical facemask, not the N95— is 60,000 to 70,000. At times that number could go up.”
Schall says the state has asked for more equipment, but is also working not stock supplies it doesn't currently need.
“As [far as] getting Delaware prepared, I want to have as much stuff as possible,” he said. “But as a human being, we have to look at the big picture. Fifty states across the country and territories in the world are going through the same process right now.”
Correction: A previous version of this story reported more than 200 individuals were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Delaware as of Thursday. Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) corrected that figure Friday to 169 individuals hospitalized for the virus as of Thursday. DPH officials said the mistake resulted from a reporting error.