Unvaccinated Delawareans now account for 99% of the COVID-19 cases

“Those folks who are unvaccinated are prolonging the pandemic, they’re bringing us to a place where we have to reconsider mitigation efforts.,” | Governor John Carney

WILMINGTON (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: COVID-19 in Delaware continues to significantly increase among the unvaccinated populations said Governor John Carney at his COVID-19 briefing Thursday afternoon in Wilmington. Carney said, “Unvaccinated Delawareans now account for 99% of the COVID-19 cases, 99.4% of hospitalizations and 98.7% of deaths.”

The COVID-19 press conference was the first since being stopped on July 13th, almost three weeks ago. It was also on that same day that Carney suspended the emergency order because “We were in a pretty good place,” Carney said during the briefing.

“The state of emergency was suspended that day on on July the 13th and we were in a pretty good place.,” Said Governor John Carney. “We are in a better place in the sense that we met President Biden‘s goal of having 70% of adult Delawareans vaccinated by the 4th of July and we celebrated that and now we’re into a little bit of uh an uptick in surge across our state.”

New daily cases has nearly doubled in the past couple of weeks: Today, new cases has jumped up 135 per day on a seven day rolling average with 4.3% in positive tests.

However, Delaware has hit a rock bottom in terms of new daily cases in the past several weeks. In late June there were about 20 cases per day. Delaware was under 1% of total positive cases then. Today, new cases has jumped up 135 per day on a seven day rolling average with 4.3% in positive tests. Carney’s goal was to be under 5% of daily positive cases. This was especially true in order to achieve his promise of lifting the emergency order.

The data says it all and in reviewing that data from the Delaware Division of Public Health’s, My healthy community, the daily increases appear to be coming from the unvaccinated populations, and most of the infections appear to be coming from the Delta Variant strain.

While daily COVID-19 infections continue to increase, the good news is that Delaware has administered over one million vaccines with over 515,000 Delawareans fully vaccinated. However, vaccinations is lacking in the 12-17 age bracket as well as the 18-34 in Kent and Sussex counties. From 35-65 in all counties, the vaccination rates are appealing. Statewide, vaccinations are looking real good for the 50-65 age group, but Carney says it’s not enough.

“As we look at our challenge it really is to encourage and get the young adult population which are increasingly more unvenerable to the delta variant spreading it among one another in an unvaccinated way and of course there are breakthrough cases and hospitalizations that result in the vaccinated groups as well. We’re seeing that with the Delta Variant .”

Fundamentally what we are seeing is that Delata Variant is spreading among that population of Delawareans unvaccinated, Carney said. “Unvaccinated Delawareans now account for 99% of the COVID-19 cases, 99.4% of hospitalizations and 98.7% of deaths.” This figure also represent those who are not fully vaccinated and became infected with COVID-19 known as ‘break-through” cases.

“Those folks that are unvaccinated are prolonging the pandemic – They’re bringing us to a place where we have to reconsider mitigation efforts and particularly as we look to the fall to get all of our children back in school for in-person instruction, recognizing that children under 12 will not be eligible for for vaccination.,” Said Carney.

We want to get all of our children back in school full-time for in-person instruction that’s been our objective for months now, we know that the districts themselves are working on it. We want to get businesses and we want them to remain open with no restrictions and we want to move on and rebuild from this crisis and accelerate out economically , Carney said.

The emergency order expired on July 13, 2021 and Carney said he is looking at other emergency powers that the state has in respect to the universal masking and schools, “This being one of our top priorities and we know the young ones, underage 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated, so important consideration there, we need to do that and do it quickly and we will because school districts are deciding how to proceed in their individual areas. “

Dr. Karyl Rattay, the Director for the Division of Public Health says they are  monitoring 12 zip codes that has at least 100 cases per 100,000 people. “We’re seeing now that there are 12 zip codes at a case rate or higher 100 cases per 100,000 people or 10% or higher positivity rate with 5 or more cases, so that’s the criteria were now using.”

Dr. Rattay said that Western Sussex is a hotspot in our state right now and it’s also the area of our state that has the lowest vaccination rates, so we are keeping a very close eye on this but certainly this is of concern. Additionally, the case rate has increased about 80%. “Since last week alone, our 7 day average several percent of positive tests went from 1.1% on July 1 to 4.3% today, and hospitalization rates have increased in all locations in the past week.”

Hospitalizations went from 22 on July 2nd to 53 yesterday. The good news is that deaths has decreased in all locations over the past week.

The Delta Variant is the employer strain in Delaware, Dr. Rattay said, speaking about the one of many COVID Variants that is spreading across the state. “54% positive test sequence, we had a total of 47 positive variants identified among our samples and 24 of those were positive for the Delta Strain. We’ve had several weeks in a row where Delta has been the predominant strain for us in Delaware.”

According to the CDC, the Delta, which started out as a very small number in May has taken over all the other strains, being the leading infection among the unvaccinated and those who are not fully vaccinated. The Delta variant spreads so much easily from person to person and is changing the war on COVID. It’s also being seen in a very small number of fully vaccinated people.

“When you have a lot of extremely contagious infection circumstance lately in the community, even vaccines that are 95% effective won’t prevent everyone who is vaccinated from getting infected and that’s what we’re seeing now.,” Carney said.

Dr. Rattay added that the vaccination is the best way to end this pandemic. “It’s the most important public health tool that we have. Vaccines are effective against death, hospitalizations, and serious illness from COVID and it’s variant strains including Delta.”

Infections are happening in the unvaccinated of the small number of inflexes that happen among fully vaccinated people. The illness tends to be milder, but when we compare unvaccinated against vaccinated people, unvaccinated people are at much higher risk for serious consequences from COVID. 

“For those who chose not to be vaccinated, there is a responsibility that includes wearing a mask in all public places, around other individuals, but the clear recommendation is that if you are unvaccinated, you should get tested at least once a week. Get tested after 5-7 days of being exposed to COVID-19. Quarantine at home if you have been exposed to someone who had COVID-19 and stay at home if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.” | Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director, Delaware Division of Public Health.

For fully vaccinated people, get tested 3-5 days after exposure. Wear a face mask for 14 days or until you get a negative test result. Quarantine is not necessary unless you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

The recent new mask guidelines was the result of increased statewide infections as well as the newly revised CDC mask guideline recommendation. State health officials are now pleading for those who are not vaccinated to get tested more frequently.

Testing was slowed down when the pandemic was improving with vaccinations with lower hospitalizations, deaths, illness, as well as the data which was showing improvement below 5% which was Governor John Carney’s goal all along.

There are a number of locations you can get tested and just because you’re fully vaccinated, doesn’t mean you don’t need a test. As Dr. Rattay said, “For fully vaccinated people, get tested 3-5 days after exposure. Wear a face mask for 14 days or until you get a negative test result. Quarantine is not necessary unless you develop symptoms of COVID-19.”

As we get closer to kids getting back in school full time, student vaccination clinics will also be taking place. The first dose clinic will be on August 19, 2021 and the second dose clinic will be September 9, 2021. Both clinics will be between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

The Back to School clinics are being held at William Penn H.S., Howard High School of Technology, Lake Forrest Central Elementary School, and Seaford Middle School. While the clinics are being catered to students returning to school. Dr. Rattay says anybody can come to the clinics to get their shots.

“We encourage parents to bring their kids, 12 and up, anybody in the communities can come to these sites, but there’s also other back to school special activities going on at these events as well.,” said Dr. Rattay.

If you have questions, Dr. Rebecca Walker and Dana Carr will be hosting a question and answer session called “Ask a school nurse” on August 16th at 7:00 p.m. The event will be streamed on the Department of Education’s Youtube channel and you can submit your questions in advance to education.covid@doe.k12.de.us.

“We’ve seen Delta Variant sweep across the states like Florida, California, Louisiana, Most of the areas where low vaccination rates, are the ones who have experienced the worst conditions.,” Said Carney. “Our vaccination rates in Delaware are not where we need them to be but are higher than many of those states that are significantly under 50%.”

“We still have a lot of work to do.  We need to encourage all of you who are not vaccinated to take the step, get vaccinated, get answers to the questions you have.,” Carney added.

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