This article originally written by Digital Content Intern Yusra Asif. Asif, is a senior media communications major at the University of Delaware, working as the associate news editor at The Review and a broadcast news reporter at the Student Television Network at UD.
There has been a 20% increase in COVID-19 cases in Delaware over the past week. The state is now seeing 358 new cases per day on a seven day average according to the state’s coronavirus tracker.
“We don’t want to be headed in that direction. We were moving to 100 new positive cases on a day-to-day basis just a few weeks back,” Gov. John Carney said, at Tuesday’s weekly virtual coronavirus news conference.
According to Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, Delaware has the fifth highest rate of cases in the country following Michigan, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The increase in the case rate is due to more contagious variant strains of the virus. 52% of the COVID-19 cases being recorded are testing positive for the new strain. The U.K. variant is the most common, with 95 cases recorded to date followed by the B.1.525 New York variant with almost 85 cases detected on the latest check.
According to Dr. Rattay, more younger people are being hospitalized as compared to the previous surge.
Only a handful of zip codes met the states criteria for elevated cases of COVID-19 a few weeks ago. That number has increased to 26 zip codes now.
“This is the third week in a row where we have seen an increase in the number of zip codes that meet the criteria,” Rattay said. “The areas are mostly in New Castle and Kent counties still, with a few in Sussex.”
Despite an increase in case rate, Carney is not planning to implement new restrictions.
“There’s not anything that we’ve looked at to say ‘hey if we did this we could stop the run-up in some of these cases, other than continue to emphasize the need to wear masks in public places, where they’re required,’” Carney said.
Delaware’s positivity rate remains at 5.7%, higher than the 5% reopening criteria recommended by the World Health Organization. According to the state’s vaccine tracker, 240,724 residents or more than 30% of the population are fully vaccinated.