COVID-19 continues to increase for the fourth week and Health officials are now monitoring the Delta variant strains affecting vaccinated populations.
NEW CASTLE (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: In it’s last update to the public, The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) provided some alarming details – Details about the increase in daily positive cases as well as the Delta variant they have been monitoring among the unvaccinated populations.
States across the country have already began lifting their emergency orders, including Delaware, who Governor John Carney lifted on July 13, 2021, but some are beginning to question if it was too soon.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Delaware has seen more than 110,638 positive cases of COVID-19. Now state health officials are saying the seven-day average of new positive cases has increased to 49.9% as of Thursday, July 22. The seven-day average for the percentage of total tests that were positive was 2.5%, an increase from 1.8% as of Tuesday, July 13. This is the fourth straight week Delaware has seen an increase.
In addition to the the daily positive increase of COVID-19, 36 individuals continue to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications. Last week there were 37 hospitalizations. Four of those hospitalized are critically ill and that number has not changed since last week.
Although, one new death was reported from an individual who was not fully vaccinated, the good news is that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71.6% of Delawareans ages 18+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
- That’s a total of 1,044,737 administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Delaware.
- Among Delawareans 12+, 521,097 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 465,378 Delawareans are fully vaccinated.
Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.
Delaware’s increase in daily positive cases is not the only thing on health officials radar. The Delta variant is also being closely monitored as a rash of high-profile breakthrough infections among people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 might suggest the coronavirus is regularly blasting by vaccinated people’s immune barriers.
Health experts say the breakthrough infections are not surprising, nor do they suggest vaccines are widely failing. | Centers For Disease Control
“Breakthrough infections are to be expected, even when you have highly effective vaccines,” said Roy M. Gulick, chief of infectious disease at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.
As of last week, among the 460,420 Delawareans who have been fully vaccinated, there have been 456 breakthrough cases of COVID-19, less than one-tenth of 1 percent. Twenty-two of the reported breakthrough cases involved hospitalizations and six individuals passed away, although it does not mean COVID was the cause of death.
“The vaccines are extraordinarily powerful and potent in working to prevent disease,” said Robert B. Darnell, a physician and biochemist at Rockefeller University in New York. “They’re incredibly good.”
According to scientific data from the CDC, vaccination significantly reduces the chance to developing COVID-19 or becoming seriously ill from it. To date, 465,378 Delawareans have been fully vaccinated. Of those, there have been 518 breakthrough cases of COVID-19, one-tenth of 1 percent.
The Division of Public Health explains that a breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more – although it does not mean that the infection actually occurred after vaccination. Twenty-two of the reported breakthrough cases involved hospitalizations, and eight individuals passed away, although it does not mean COVID was the cause of death.
Breakthrough cases are extremely rare, and the science is clear, the best way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. | Delaware Division of Public Health
As of Friday, July 23, the Division of Public Health has identified the following COVID-19 variants in Delaware through routine surveillance of test specimens. These variants are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest. There were no Delta variant cases identified during sequencing over the past week.
The Delaware Public Health Laboratory has sequenced 3,363 specimens for COVID-19 variant strains to date, including 46 within the past week. In aggregate, the cases include 1,157 adults ranging in age from 18- 98, as well as 256 individuals under the age of 18. One thousand and sixty-four individuals were from New Castle County, 181 were from Kent County and 168 were from Sussex County.
Virus mutation is common. Sequencing for variants is a complex process and not used for diagnosing COVID-19. It is used after a positive case of COVID-19 has been identified for surveillance purposes, or in identifying the presence of a variant strain in the community. When variant strains are identified, public health approaches and treatments do not currently change. But because these variants may spread more easily, it is even more important that unvaccinated individuals who are more susceptible to getting COVID-19 continue taking the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus – wearing a mask, washing your hands, and avoiding gatherings.
The science is clear that the vaccines are extremely safe and effective even against variants – and Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection from COVID-19 infection and serious illness. We would encourage all Delawareans to get vaccinated – de.gov/getmyvaccine.