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The Delaware flag waves against the clear blue sky.

(The Center Square) – The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in The First State, health officials announced.

The Delaware Division of Public Health is reporting the 7-day average for positive tests saw an increase to 9.2% from the previous week’s total of 8%, while hospitalizations rose to 317. The state saw an increase of 51 patients hospitalized from the previous week, and 33 reported to be critically ill.

“Given rising cases pointing to a winter surge, the presence of the Delta variant and likelihood that we will see the Omicron variant in our state, we are grateful to have another tool at our disposal to increase protection for younger Delawareans,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, the director of the Department of Public Health, in the release. “We encourage anyone ages 5 and older who has not yet been vaccinated to get their first dose, for those who still need their second to schedule it, and for all those eligible for a booster vaccine to get one.”

According to the numbers provided in the report, the state said there were 159,399 total COVID-19 cases since March 11, 2020, and last week saw a rise of the average of new cases per 100,000 residents rise to 603.9 from last week’s average of 432.9. The state reported 17 new deaths last week, pushing the total to 2,211 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state reported 2,883 new cases in totally unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals for the first week of December, with a total number of cases reported at 3,985. Of those new cases, 72% were in unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated individuals.

According to the report, there have been 169 total COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 117 were partially or unvaccinated individuals. In addition, 13 deaths from the virus last week were in partially or unvaccinated individuals.

The state, according to the release, is encouraging all residents to get vaccinated.

There are a total number of 1,464,094 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered and 78.8% of the state’s population age 5 and older have received at least one dose, and 84.6% of the population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose. More than 86% of state residents over the age of 18 have received at least one dose, and 62.6% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.

According to the release, there have been 8,341 breakthrough COVID-19 cases, with 132 cases needing hospitalization and 102 breakthrough cases resulting in death.

Public health officials encourage state residents to become fully vaccinated and visit de.gov/getmyvaccine for the latest information available.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.