(The Center Square) – Delaware Gov. John Carney has issued a new state of emergency declaration amid a winter rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state.
The governor said the order will allow public health officials to set aside regulations to combat the surge of cases in the state amid the delta and highly transmissible omicron variants.
“We still face a very serious situation with COVID-19 in Delaware, especially in our hospital facilities,” Carney said in a news release. “The best thing Delawareans can do to support those frontline health care workers is to remain vigilant – and do what works. After two years of this pandemic, we all know what to do. Mask up in public places to protect yourself and vulnerable family members. Get your vaccine. And get a booster if you’re eligible. That’s the best way to prevent serious illness and hospitalization.”
In the emergency declaration, Carney cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determining the virus presents “a serious public threat” as the state “repeatedly surpassed its daily record” in December 2021 for new COVID-19 cases. While omicron is more contagious than other strains, early studies have indicated it is less severe.
The state is reporting the 7-day average of new cases is 2,347 as the positivity rate over the past week sits at 24.8%.
According to state information, 88.7% of all state residents ages 18 and over have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
There are 589 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with 69 termed as “critical” patients. The state has recorded 2,286 deaths amid the pandemic.
The new emergency declaration, according to the release, will increase bed capacity at acute care facilities, along with a reassurance for adequate staffing, maintenance and safety. The approval was made through the Division of Public Health.
In addition, the emergency declaration, according to the release, will enable 100 members of the Delaware National Guard to work as certified nursing assistants in skilled nursing facilities in order to care for patients currently in hospitals. Those guard members are currently undergoing training.