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COVID surge continues as new state of emergency takes effect

An illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the coronavirus. (Courtesy CDC)
An illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the coronavirus. (Courtesy CDC)

A record number of people are hospitalized in Delaware as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

589 people are hospitalized as of Monday. That tops the previous day’s record of 509. It marks the third straight day the state has topped 500 hospitalizations.

According to data released by the state Monday, 589 people are hospitalized, topping the previous day’s record of 509. Prior to that, the record for hospitalizations stood at 474, a peak reached in January 2021.

The 7-day average for new cases topped 2,000 for a second straight day. As of Monday, the 7-day average was 2,347 while the 7-day average for percentage of positive tests reached 24.8%, another upward trend.

The new numbers come as testing sites around the state closed due to Monday’s winter storm and a new state of emergency issued by Governor John Carney took effect.

The declaration allows health authorities to set aside regulations in order to combat the surge in cases, increase bed capacity in acute care facilities with assurances for adequate staffing, maintenance and safety, and enables members of the Delaware National Guard to work as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in skilled nursing facilities to care for patients currently in hospitals.

About 100 National Guard members are being trained as CNAs.

In the meantime, Carney is urging Delawareans to take steps to mitigate their risk.

“We still face a very serious situation with COVID-19 in Delaware, especially in our hospital facilities,” Carney said. “The best thing Delawareans can do to support those frontline health care workers is to remain vigilant – and do what works. After two years of this pandemic, we all know what to do. Mask up in public places to protect yourself and vulnerable family members. Get your vaccine. And get a booster if you’re eligible. That’s the best way to prevent serious illness and hospitalization.”

Nearly 69% of Delawareans 12 and up are fully vaccinated. Just 27.3% have received a booster shot.

On Monday, the FDA authorized Pfizer boosters for adolescents ages 12-15 as well as a third dose for younger kids who are immunocompromised.

Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.