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Coronavirus update: Hospitalizations, rate of positive tests continue to drop in Delaware

Customers lined up with masks and mostly maintained their distance Sunday at the Home Depot near Newark, Delaware. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Customers lined up with masks and mostly maintained their distance Sunday at the Home Depot near Newark, Delaware. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

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As of Monday at noon, Delaware reported 7,869 cases of the coronavirus and 297 deaths.  A total of 240 people are hospitalized.

Fewer people are in Delaware hospitals with the coronavirus and the rate of tested people who have the disease continues to fall.

The drops, coupled with the state starting to test up to 80,000 people a month and embark on an aggressive contact tracing initiative, are the benchmarks Gov. John Carney says must be met for him to ease his State of Emergency restrictions.

To that end, Carney last week outlined the first steps of a gradual opening — this coming weekend at beaches and June 1 at malls, restaurants, gyms and other venues.

WHYY’s analysis of the state Division of Public Health’s daily updates shows that the virus was confirmed in 11.8% of the test results reported over the five days ending Monday. That figure was 19.2% for the five days ending May 8.

Hospitalizations and new admissions also are on the wane. For example, the state reported Saturday that 229 people were receiving inpatient care at 6 p.m. Friday. That was the lowest number in a month. Just nine days earlier, it was 289.

The number in critical condition in Monday’s report was just 39 — a number that has not been so low since the April 5 report.

Additionally, only six people were admitted to the hospital in the 24-hour period ending Saturday at 6 p.m. That figure was 71 just 10 days earlier.

These numbers keep trending in a positive direction even as the death toll keeps rising, including the highest one-day total of 15 reported Friday. A total of 297 Delawareans have died of COVID-19-related causes, the state said Monday.

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Del. Memorial Bridge resumes cash tolls on Thursday

It’s been nearly two months since the Delaware Memorial Bridge accepted cash at its toll booths. That will change Thursday morning as the $5 cash payment will be required in the southbound lanes coming from New Jersey for drivers who don’t have E-ZPass accounts.

All toll collectors will be required to wear a facemask and gloves, and will be behind protective Plexiglass shields. All toll booths will also be sanitized between shifts, which have been “staggered to limit interaction/exposure among toll collectors,’’ bridge authority spokesman James Salmon said.

Drivers using the cash lanes are also encouraged to use face masks when paying.

Salmon also said that traffic volumes are down 25% this year compared with 2019, and down 64% in April alone.

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