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Hospitalizations rise as COVID numbers move higher in Delaware


With COVID numbers rising in Delaware, state officials worry about the strain they put on hospitals in the First State.

There are 296 COVID-related hospitalizations in Delaware with 34 of them critical.

Even though that pales in comparison to the high of 474 in January, Gov. John Carney explains the circumstances are different now.

"Back then we had fewer people in the hospitals because the hospitals were managing their in hospital census by curtailing voluntary surgeries and other purposes," said Carney. "We had lots of sectors of our economy closed down and so there was less travel on the roads, less injuries, fewer people going into the hospital, and so at 296, it's probably much tighter for our hospital capacity."

Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director AJ Schall says that means a spike in COVID hospitalizations now will put more pressure on the system.

"It's not a bed issue. It's not the actual square footage issue. It's a staffing issue when we talked to our hospitals," said Schall. "We have an overworked labor pool, you have a lot of turnover in some of the facilities because of the stress they put them under, but those there are doing a tremendous job to make sure that they're caring for everybody."

Delaware’s 7-day average for new COVID cases is 572. That was 245 one month ago. And the positive test rate is 8.7 percent. It was hanging just below 6 in early November

For now. the delta variant is driving case numbers. The omicron variant has yet to be seen in Delaware, but state health director Karyl Rattay says it’s just a matter of time before it shows up here.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.