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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.

Answering key coronavirus questions

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Early projections of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Delaware used by public officials have not panned out, with cases numbers and hospitalizations lagging behind what models suggested.

Gov. John Carney maintains Delaware’s situation continues to worsen, with infections and hospitalizations trending up. But at the same time, Delaware and other states look toward developing plans  “reopen.”

To help sort out what’s going on and what’s next - Delaware Public Media’s Sophia Schmidt brings back University of Delaware epidemiology expert Jennifer Horney for her insights.

 

Gov. Carney has said Delaware is “nowhere ready” to begin the phases of reopening laid out in recent White House guidance to states. Delaware is among the states coordinating to develop plans for gradually lifting stay-at-home orders. 

 

Guidelines released by the White House last week recommend states maintain a downward trajectory of documented cases over a 14-day period before progressing to phased reopening. 

 

Jennifer Horney, founding director of University of Delaware’s epidemiology program and core faculty in the University’s Disaster Research Center, estimated Thursday afternoon Delaware is “close” to  — if not at — the peak of its outbreak. 

 

“But that doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to have a number of cases,” she said. “The space that’s under that epidemic curve is made up of individual cases added together. So we’ll be adding fewer cases each day but we’ll be continuing to add cases.”

 

Horney says because Delaware will see additional cases if it relaxes coronavirus control measures, hospitals would need to have the capacity, and stocks of personal protective equipment— to handle that. 

 

She notes in recent weeks, hospital capacity has been preserved as Delaware’s percent of total cases requiring hospitalization has fallen below state projections. 

 

The rate of new cases is not the only factor officials will need to consider when deciding when to gradually lift Delaware’s stay-at-home order, according to Horney. She says widespread, rapid testing with same-day results and increased capacity to quickly track people who’ve been in contact with an infected person will be imperative. 

 

“We don’t want someone to have had a test and then be waiting a few days while they’re out [at] their business that maybe has been reopened, maybe spreading disease,” she said. “We need to get those quickly and then be able to contact trace all of their contacts to be sure they’re self-quarantining when possible.”

 

Gov. Carney’s original stay-at-home order remains in effect until May 15 or when public health officials determine the threat is eliminated.

 
 

 

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