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COVID cases on the rise in Delaware as Memorial Day weekend approaches

The seven day average for new COVID-19 cases is nearly 575 with 818 new positive cases reported in Delaware on Thursday. One month ago, the seven day average was 168.

This steady upward trend over the past month comes on the tail end of prom season, and ahead of Memorial Day weekend and graduation season.

Delaware Division of Public Health director Dr. Karyl Rattay says given the relaxation of mitigation tactics, such as mask wearing, this surge is not surprising.

“The seven day average daily case count has been creeping up over really about the last four weeks or so. And it’s not surprising,” explained Rattay. “We’ve seen in New England- New England has been ahead of us in this BA.2 surge- so we all knew it was coming.”

Rattay adds that while case numbers have gone up, the numbers are not expected to get as high as they were in January during the omicron surge.

But DPH and the CDC strongly recommend wearing masks indoors, especially in crowded areas. Rattay says with people gathering more socially, there is definitely a risk for super spreading events.

“I hope that those who are hosting indoor events, such as indoor graduations or indoor Memorial Day parties, that they’re really thinking about having people wearing masks in those settings,” said Rattay. “Test before, mask in those settings, and that can really go a long way to prevent the spread.”

She adds with so many positive cases, having everyone agree to test before seeing people is one of the best things one can do to mitigate the spread at gatherings.

Rattay notes at-home tests are easy to obtain and free PCR testing sites are still available across the state, and can be found at the state’s testing website.

It’s important to note that the omicron variants, omicron and BA.2, have several characteristics that have changed the way that one may test and quarantine. Rattay explains the updated incubation period for the new variants, as well as what to do after testing positive.

“You turn positive more quickly after exposure, but you can get negatives more quickly, as well. Nonetheless, an individual who is positive should be considered at least partially contagious for ten days after the day they first have symptoms, or the day they get tested,” Rattay explained. “So if you’re positive, consider yourself contagious for ten days, again, from the day you get tested or the day you get symptoms. But we are now saying after 5 days you can go be around other people again but you need to make sure that you have a well-fitting mask on, and certainly you want to be super careful if you’re around people who are at higher risk of consequences from COVID.”

For those who wish to gather, DPH recommends hosting outdoor events whenever possible, since the virus can not spread as easily outdoors.

Hospitalizations in the First State are rising steadily with 127 Delawareans hospitalized with COVID-19 with 13 in critical condition Thursday. That’s up from 40 total COVID hospitalizations one month ago.

But area hospitals say they are not currently over capacity or in crisis-level.

Updated COVID-19 information, including current hospitalizations and case numbers, can be found at the state’s cornonavirus website.


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