Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State health officials urge some to forego COVID testing as tests stay in high demand

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Around one in four COVID-19 tests in Delaware are coming back positive according to the latest state data released Tuesday.

The seven-day average for new cases stands at 2,584. At nearly 27%, the COVID positive test rate has doubled in just about a week.

Last week, nearly 54,000 people were tested at Curative sites around the state and health officials say the demand for tests continues to outstrip supply.

Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay is now urging some people to forgo testing including those who have tested positive within the last three months or who are fully vaccinated and boosted and don’t have symptoms.

“Right now, we want to make sure that those who really need to get tested have access to tests especially those who have symptoms or those who have been exposed to someone with COVID, and those who are at higher risk who may benefit from some of the medications that are available,” she said.

Dr. Rattay also urges people not to retest just because they’re skeptical about getting a positive result and notes that people should not go to the emergency room for testing.

Delaware Emergency Management Director A.J. Schall says he’s working with the federal government to bring in additional testing resources.

"We have a request in to our federal partners to do some community testing toward the middle of January," said Schall.  "If that gets approved and finalized, it could bring us another 10 to 15,000 tests a week.

He anticipates opening a new mass testing site in each county managed by federal officials. They would be open for two to three weeks. Officials hope to finalize those plans in the next few days.

Schall adds his department will also no longer be releasing weekly updates on testing locations due to weather interruptions and frequent staffing issues. Instead, those seeking updated information should visit the state's testing website.

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.