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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.

Staffing may become the issue as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-related hospitalizations continue to rise in the First State.

The state reported 2 more Monday raising its current total to 246.

That remains below the state’s highwater mark of 337 in late April, but Gov. John Carney says the state is working with local hospitals to ensure they are ready if their capacities get tested again.

“You know, our capacity is somewhere in the 400 to 500 range depending on the activity in the hospitals and they could curtail some of that," said Carnety Tuesday at his weekly CIVID-19 press briefing. "It’s hard to estimate, that’s why we need to, frankly, take efforts and call in everybody to protect that capacity, to protect our loved ones.”

Carney adds the issue is not just physical bed capacity at hospitals, but the staffing needed. If there isn’t enough staff, the hospital won’t be able to use its stated capacity.

“The hospitals on our call yesterday feel confident in their ability to manage that capacity. Their biggest challenge is not so much the room space that is needed, but staffing.”

Like hospitals elsewhere around the country, Delaware’s are also concerned about staffing shortages. That’s why Carney says he signed the executive order allowing retired health professionals to return to work and help with surges.

Hospitalizations are considered a lagging indicator, following other upticks in COVID numbers.

Delaware is seeing its other numbers rise too.  The seven day average of new positive cases jumped to 523 per day. The seven day average of positive tests now stands at 6.8.

The 682 new cases reported Monday is a new high for a single day in Delaware during the pandemic.

Public Health officials say this is the optimal time for people who attended Thanksgiving gatherings to get tested.  There are concerns those gatherings could lead to a further case surge.

State officials also announced 5 new COVID-related deaths, bringing the death toll in Delaware to 777. 3 of those individuals were from Kent County and the other two were from New Castle and Sussex Counties.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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