Del. coronavirus recovery: New review uncovers 67 additional COVID-19 related death

duPont Hospital, ChristianaCare hospital system staff and the Delaware National Guard conduct training

Staff members of the duPont Hospital for Children, ChristianaCare hospital system and the Delaware National Guard conduct training at the duPont hospital site. (Delaware National Guard)

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Delaware added 27 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the state’s total case number to 10,847. The number of deaths in the state increased by 69 on Tuesday, a big jump mainly due to an earlier reporting error. There are 91 people being treated in Delaware hospitals, an increase of two over Monday. Fifteen patients are considered critically ill.

New review uncovers 67 additional COVID-19 related deaths

A review of death certificates found 67 deaths related to the coronavirus that had not been reported to the Division of Public Health. About 75% of those deaths occurred in long-term care facilities going back to the beginning of the virus outbreak.

“It was part of our quality control practice, we felt it was necessary to be proactive so our data was as good as it can be,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, who directs the Division of Public Health. “Very, very important to mention, these are not new deaths, these are deaths that occurred from the very beginning of this pandemic.”

Deaths involving diseases like COVID-19 are required to be reported to the state, but that didn’t happen for these cases. In 32 cases, DPH knew the patient had coronavirus, but did not know they had died. For the other 35 cases, there was no positive test. For those, the attending doctor listed coronavirus as an underlying cause of death.

The state is reaching back out to long-term care facilities to remind workers there of the requirements to report these deaths.

Going forward, DPH will double check death certificates weekly to ensure other deaths aren’t missed in the tabulation.

UD students to return Sept. 1

In-person classes will resume at the University of Delaware on September 1, school officials said. In a  letter to the campus community, UD president Dennis Assanis said classes will begin with a mix of in-person and online classes.

“This planning addresses the need to minimize transmission and spread of COVID-19, and we will adapt our plan as needed depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves,” Assanis said.

The plan is for face-to-face instruction as much as possible, but classes with more than 49 students will be held online. Courses will be designed to enable reduced class sizes and optimization of our learning environments, taking health and safety considerations into account in all instances,” he said.

In-person instruction will end at the Thanksgiving break. After that, all classes for the rest of the semester will be held online.

Students, teachers and staff will be required to wear face coverings at all times while indoors. Face masks will also be required outside when six feet of social distancing is not possible. Classrooms, laboratories, the library, dining halls and common areas are being modified to allow for physical distancing. Residence halls will be assigned with a focus on reducing density.

While tuition will stay the same for the coming year, student fees will increase, with the student wellbeing fee going up $250, and room and board rising $264.

Assanis said all classes will be prepared to fully move online if possible exposure to COVID-19 increases.

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