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State officials want to avoid stressing hospitals amidst Thanksgiving COVID surge

via State of Delaware Livestream

State health officials are trying to prevent another surge in coronavirus cases to flood the hospitals over the holidays.



The Division of Public Health says the huge rise in hospitalizations, overtaking what was seen back in April, can in part be attributed to the Thanksgiving holiday.


And Gov. John Carney says he’s worried that folks spreading the virus throughout the rest of the holiday season could only further stress hospital capacity.


“We don’t want to have people who need hospital care and can’t get it. We know our hospitals are doing everything they possibly can to make sure that there’s space when somebody presents and is tested and is COVID-19 positive. We can’t see another peak on top of that.”


Karyl Rattay, director of DPH says thanksgiving was a super spreader event, and future large gatherings during the holiday season is a recipe for disaster and could be the breaking point for hospitals already stretched to capacity. 


She says the state is so close to recovering from the virus, with vaccines already rolling out to frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facilities.


The holiday season could be the toughest time yet for managing the spread of the virus.


Carney urges all Delawareans to avoid contact with people outside their immediate household and to wear masks when such contact is required. 


The state has also been processing more Coronavirus tests through the holiday season than before.


Last week, the state processed over 60,000 tests, not including tests done by other companies not affiliated with the state’s testing system.


AJ Schall is the director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. He says because of the increase in demand for testing, there could be longer wait times to receive results.


“With the increase of testing across the country, with us almost doubling our testing numbers for a few weeks, that created a ripple effect down through the labs.”


Schall says the state is also beginning to roll out the use of a rapid COVID test, which can deliver results in just 15 minutes.

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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