Del. coronavirus hospitalizations set record high, expected to keep growing

The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in Delaware has surpassed the record set in late April. (State of Delaware)

The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in Delaware has surpassed the record set in late April. (State of Delaware)

Delaware Governor John Carney has been preaching in recent weeks that residents must take more precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, in large part because the number of patients in the hospital was growing rapidly as the number of new daily cases reached record levels.

Carney has warned that the number of hospitalized people was steadily approaching the record high of 337 that was reached on April 27, less than two months into the pandemic.

He has continued repeating, in broadcast briefings and news releases, to wear masks, practice physical distancing and not to congregate without face-coverings or hold house parties and gatherings with friends and extended family.

He has asked for compassion for the nurses, doctors and other hospital employees who must treat the runaway virus and are burning out.

It has all been to little avail.

On Tuesday, the Division of Public Health reported that 338 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals across the state, and 41 are in critical condition. The number occupying hospital beds is 85% higher than a month ago and nearly 1,200% greater than late August.

“Those hospitalization numbers are as real as real can be. They’re there, they’re present in the hospitals. It’s not a hoax. This is real and it’s serious,’’ Carney said during the briefing, in which he once again pleaded with his constituents to protect each other.

Carney spoke as the number of new daily cases also continues setting an all-time high, with the weekly average at 730 new infections a day.

Though the vast majority don’t need hospital treatment and the death rate has slowed because of better treatment options, Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said that’s not a legitimate reason to stop taking precautions that can prevent the community spread of the virus.

“We still have far too many people who are too sick and who are succumbing to this illness,” Rattay said. “That is unacceptable to us.”

A total of 803 Delawareans have now died from coronavirus-related causes, Rattay said. Over the last month, an average of two patients have died every day.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal