Del. coronavirus update: State close to reaching 70% vaccination goal

Anybody entering the courthouse in Wilmington must under screening for  COVID-19  symptoms. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Anybody entering the courthouse in Wilmington must under screening for COVID-19 symptoms. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Delaware is close to reaching President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of adults with at least one vaccine dose by the Fourth of July.

During their final weekly COVID-19 briefing, state health officials said 69.8% of Delawareans have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Officials say the vaccination rate is contributing to the decline of COVID-19 in the state with a percent positive average of 1% on a seven-day moving average. Case counts are down 30% from last week, and the state currently has 19 new COVID-19 cases on a seven-day moving average. There currently are 19 hospitalizations in Delaware.

Vaccination rates still are slow among 18-to-35-year-old Delawareans, however. Fewer than 50% of this age group has been vaccinated.

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Delaware residents have a chance to win $302,000 if they’re vaccinated. Tuesday is the last chance to get the shot in order to be entered into Wednesday’s DE Wins raffle drawing.

The state’s mask mandate has been lifted, but Carney said people who are still unvaccinated should continue to wear their masks.

While COVID-19 numbers are on the decline, health officials are keeping their eye on variants of the virus, particularly the Delta variant that has shown to be more contagious and lead to serious illness in other countries. Since last week, there’s only been an increase of two cases of the Delta variant in Delaware.

“Almost 70% of adults have had one or more doses of the vaccine. But we gave many individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated, and the Delta variant seems to be much more contagious even than the UK variant, and while the vaccines out there seem to be protective against the Delta variant we have many unvaccinated individuals, so it’s certainly a significant concern of ours that we may see pockets or clusters of infection in the fall when we have greater potential for resurgence of the virus,” said Division of Public Health director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

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“None of us want to go backwards, and shut anything down and mandate mask wearing again and putting some of the restrictions in place. it adds to our plea to people to get vaccinated so we don’t have to be in a position where we go backwards in the future.”

Rattay also encouraged people to get tested if they have symptoms. She said the state will continue testing, contact tracing and quarantine measures, especially for people who are not vaccinated.

Delaware Emergency Management Agency director AJ Schall said state testing sites might decrease slightly as more people get vaccinated and people have access to the vaccine at pharmacies. But the state will continue to increase vaccination rates and is working to get on site testing at public schools in the fall.

“We have the 70% goal, hit that in the next few days, as we come out of that we know we have to concentrate on the 12-to-17-year-old population, but we’re still going to be in the community … It’s not going to pull in hundreds of people but the people it pulls in are just as important to us and we want to make sure they have access,” Schall said. “Just because the DE Wins competition is ending tomorrow, just because we’re not doing the weekly press conference, the vaccination effort is what is going to help keep Delawareans safe, and help get the kids back to school in the fall.”

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