Weekly COVID-19 Update – Dec. 10, 2021: Rising Positive Cases, Hospitalizations Point to Winter Surge

DOVER, DE (Dec. 10, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is providing an update on the most recent statistics related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Delaware, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. 

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 159,399
  • 7-day average of new positive cases: 603.9, a significant increase from 432.9 last week 
  • 7-day average for the percentage of total positive tests: 9.2%, an increase from 8% last week 
  • Hospitalizations: 317, an increase of 51 from last week; critically ill: 33, an increase of one from last week 
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 2,211
  • Total COVID-19 deaths reported since last week: 17

   

COVID-19 Vaccinations: 

  • Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,464,094
  • Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 78.8%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 84.6% 
  • Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who received at least one dose (CDC data): 86.6%
  • Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 62.6% 

 

Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection from COVID-19 infection, serious illness and death. All qualifying Delawareans should get vaccinated. Individuals who qualify for a booster dose should get one as soon as possible. For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity

 

Expanded Eligibility for Vaccine Boosters:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 16- and 17-year-olds, at least six months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the action soon after. DPH has advised medical providers that they may begin administering the Pfizer vaccine (12+/adult formula) as a booster to eligible 16- and 17-year-olds as soon as they are able.  These individuals are only able to receive Pfizer as a booster, and are not able to mix and match vaccines as those individuals 18 and older can do.

“Given rising cases pointing to a winter surge, the presence of the Delta variant and likelihood that we will see the Omicron variant in our state, we are grateful to have another tool at our disposal to increase protection for younger Delawareans,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.  “We encourage anyone ages 5 and older who has not yet been vaccinated to get their first dose, for those who still need their second to schedule it, and for all those eligible for a booster vaccine to get one.”

Individuals 18 and older who received either Pfizer or Moderna are eligible for a booster dose of the vaccine at least six months after being fully vaccinated.  Those who received the J&J vaccine are eligible for a booster two months after their vaccination. Persons 18 and older may choose from any of the three FDA authorized vaccines as their booster, regardless of the brand they originally received. 

 

Evidence from clinical studies show that boosters do not merely top off immunity, but elevate protection well beyond peak levels from the primary series. Some experts say the elevated levels of protection can be as high as 95%. The same study showed an 85% reduction in hospitalization, 76% reduction in severe disease, and 94% reduction in deaths in those who received a booster dose. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be very effective when it comes to preventing hospitalization and death, but effectiveness against getting the virus may decline over time.  Boosters also increase the strength of your antibody response, so when the virus mutates, a booster makes it more likely that your antibodies can protect you against the new variant. Visit de.gov/boosters for more information.

 

COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:  

The following report captures a weekly breakdown of vaccination status for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for the time frame for Nov. 29 – Dec. 5. The report highlights the significant percentage of unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated individuals comprising Delaware’s cases and hospitalizations. 

 

Weekly Overview(11/29 -12/5)

Unvaccinated Cases

Total Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

2883

Total Cases

3985

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

72%

Hospitalizations

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

117

Total Hospitalized Cases

169

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

69%

Deaths

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

13

Total COVID-19 Deaths

15

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

87%

 

 

 Breakthrough Cases (cumulative since vaccinations began): 

  • Total breakthrough cases: 8,341 or 1.5% of fully vaccinated individuals 
  • Total breakthrough hospitalizations: 132
  • Total breakthrough deaths: 102

 

A breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more. 

 

COVID-19 Variant Cases in Delaware:  

In the last week, 445 test samples were sequenced through routine surveillance of test specimens. Of those test samples, 248 (55.7%) sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were 26 additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. Out of the 274 variant positive samples, all were identified as the Delta strain.

 

DPH continues to monitor the science around the new Omicron variant, which has been classified as a Variant of Concern by both the World Health Organization and CDC. This variant was first reported in South Africa and has since been detected in at least 40 countries and 21 states in the U.S. No cases of this variant have been identified in Delaware to date. The Delaware Public Health Laboratory regularly monitors for the presence of COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, through routine sequencing of test specimens.  

DPH COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Units: 

DPH officials in partnership with medical staff from the Delaware National Guard (DNG) have mobile units that offer COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities.

 

The mobile units, which utilize trailers to transport the vaccine and provide vaccinations, are scheduled to visit these communities in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. COVID-19 testing will be available at each location. The mobile units in New Castle County will travel through specific neighborhoods and a community intervention team will canvas door to door to offer vaccination and testing services to residents. These specific events are indicated below with the note (door to door). 

Monday, Dec. 13

Urban Promise Academy, 2401 Thatcher St., Wilmington, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Wawa Camden, 200 East St., Camden, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Linkside Apartments, 35 Flagstick Lane, Magnolia, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Bethel Market, 7743 Main St., Bethel, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Café Tamburelli’s, 3 Market St., Greenwood, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

 

Tuesday, Dec. 14

DeLaWarr State Service Center, 500 Rogers Road, New Castle, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Smyrna State Service Center, 200 S. DuPont Blvd., Smyrna, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Laurel State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar St., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church, 315 High St., Seaford, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

 

Wednesday, Dec. 15

Wilmington’s Northside neighborhood (door to door), starting at North Claymont Street, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, 1131 N. DuPont Hwy., Dover, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Wawa, 1450 Forrest Ave., Dover, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Greenwood Public Library, 100 Mill St., Greenwood, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Thursday, Dec. 16

Appoquinimink State Service Center, 122 Silver Lake Road, Middletown, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Donald J. Richey Elementary School, 105 E. Highland Ave., Wilmington, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Laurel State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar St., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Smyrna State Service Center, 200 S. DuPont Blvd., Smyrna, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

Davelli’s Bagel Café, 201 W. Stein Hwy., Seaford, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Friday, Dec. 17

Wilmington’s Browntown/Hedgeville neighborhood (door to door), starting at 900 block of Maryland Avenue, Wilmington, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Service General Laundromat, 801 Norman Eskidge Hwy., Seaford, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

  

*dates may be rescheduled if there is inclement weather 

For a full list of community-based events statewide including those organized by vaccinating partners and community groups at de.gov/getmyvaccine

 

Long-term Care Statistics: 

As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, there have been a total of 3,017 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 869 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19. 

 

Flu Update:

Flu cases are increasing in Delaware, with 84 cases reported in the most recent week.  As of Dec. 4, 2021, the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been 125 laboratory-confirmed cases for the current season. The cases involved 79 individuals from New Castle County, 12 from Kent County and 34 from Sussex County. This number reflects only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely higher as not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid test kits in a provider’s office versus a lab.

 

Now is the time to get vaccinated against the flu if you haven’t already. Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies (including those in grocery stores), participating medical provider offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for their patients), as well as Division of Public Health clinics. DPH is also advising the public that the flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

For the latest information on the flu in Delaware, visit flu.delaware.gov.

Resources: 

Individuals with general questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211, or email delaware211@uwde.org. Hours of operation are: 

Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

 

Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov

 

Delawareans 18 or older are encouraged to download COVID Alert DE, Delaware’s free exposure notification app to help protect your neighbors while ensuring your privacy. Download on the App Store or Google Play. 

 

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus

 


Delaware Public Health Officials Confirm First Two Flu Cases of the 2021-2022 Season, Including First Pediatric Case

DOVER (NOV. 1, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the state’s first two laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for the 2021-2022 flu season, including the first pediatric case of the season. The cases involve a Kent County child under the age of 5, infected with influenza strain B, who was hospitalized, as well as a 26-year-old Sussex County woman, with influenza strain A, who was not hospitalized. Neither individual had received the flu vaccine.

“This first case of the flu is an excellent reminder for us to get our flu vaccine as soon as possible,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We must not get lulled into a false sense of security with last year’s unusually low case numbers. With Delawareans resuming pre-pandemic activities, the flu is a definite threat to our health. Because hospitals and physicians’ offices are already taxed with COVID-19 cases, we must do everything we can to prevent adding more to their burden and the flu vaccine is a very good start.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older and can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. Since it takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season.

During the pre-pandemic 2019-2020 flu season, Delaware recorded more than 7,000 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. Nearly 400 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 11 people died from flu complications.  During the 2020-2021 flu season, there were 26 confirmed cases of the flu, one hospitalization and one death.

DPH is offering flu vaccines when staff are out providing COVID-19 vaccines at community-based events. These events are listed at de.gov/getmyvaccine under the Community-Based events section (indicated by *DPH mobile trailer, flu vaccines also available). Additionally, a schedule for flu vaccines at Public Health clinics for uninsured and underinsured individuals can be found at: https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.  Flu vaccines also are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. To locate where flu vaccines near you are being offered, Google “CDC flu finder” and enter your ZIP code. The flu is easy to transmit, and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

In addition to getting an annual flu shot, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu the same way they can prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • wear a face covering when in public
  • maintain 6 feet of space between others, especially those who reside outside of your own home
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms. They include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, and headaches. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from flu include a change in or loss of taste or smell. If you are sick, the best thing to do is call your health care provider to see if you should get tested for COVID-19 or come in for a visit.

Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household – you can give someone the flu 24 hours before you show symptoms and five to seven days after you get sick. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

Today’s flu cases will be reported in the DPH Flu Surveillance Report later this week. For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit [flu.delaware.gov]flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.


DPH Announces The Start of Flu Season: Vaccine Is Best Line of Defense For Delawareans 6 months and older

DOVER, Del. (Oct. 4, 2021) – October marks the start of the 2021-2022 influenza season, and given the State’s ongoing fight against COVID-19, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) believes it is more important than ever for Delawareans to protect themselves and loved ones by getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible. The flu vaccine is vital in helping avoid significant illness from the flu including hospitalization and death.

Children younger than 5, older adults, pregnant women, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now. DPH also urges vaccination for those who live or work with infants under 6 months of age, as well as those who live or work in congregant settings such as long-term care and correctional facilities.

“Because the number of cases dropped last year, many people think the flu has disappeared, but in fact, the flu is still a major health threat as it is highly contagious and can be deadly,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “At a time when hospitals are under tremendous strain from the coronavirus pandemic, we need to do all we can to keep even more people from overwhelming emergency departments and hospitals with flu illness. Getting the flu vaccine is the one key step to keep that from happening.”

“With pandemic safety practices easing,” Rattay continued, “more Delawareans are interacting outside the home, more public events are happening, and fewer people are wearing masks. These things make it easier for the flu to spread. The flu vaccine is the strongest defense when it comes to keeping yourself and family members safe and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and possibly death.”

Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season.

Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies (including those in grocery stores), participating medical provider offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for their patients), as well as Division of Public Health clinics. DPH is also advising the public that the flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. While DPH no longer holds mass community flu clinics, it will offer flu vaccines at community-based locations where staff are administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Children, older adults, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now. Some signs and symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Testing can effectively help you determine which illness you have.

Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with temperature less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours.

In addition, people with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

DPH will again be sharing flu-related messaging through radio, print, and social media messaging, and will distribute a toolkit to schools, community-based organizations and medical providers to help them encourage flu vaccination through their networks as well.

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.

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Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.