Gov. Carney ‘very worried’ by relentless rise of COVID-19 in Del. as stricter measures take effect

National Guard soldiers and airmen assist with a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site.

National Guard soldiers and airmen assist with a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. (Cotton Puryear/U.S. National Guard)

Ask us about COVID-19: What questions do you have about the current surge?

Delaware Gov. John Carney said he’s banking on his new stay-at-home advisory and other coronavirus restrictions to help mitigate this month’s relentless and record resurgence of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The incremental tightening of the governor’s nine-month-old State of Emergency rules that started Monday includes a 10 p.m. closing time for restaurants and bars, a mask mandate for indoor gatherings with people outside of your household, and a halt to in-person education. They come as Delaware reported more than 1,000 new positive test results in two of the last four days.

The last week saw an average of 819 new cases a day — nearly four times higher than the peak in the spring.

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As of  Tuesday, a record 376 patients are in the hospital, and that figure continues to grow by about 10 patients a day. Sixty-two of those patients are in critical condition.

Also, the state reported 10 new coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, raising the total since March to 826. By contrast, the record number of deaths in any previous flu season on record was 36 — just 4% of the COVID-19 death toll in the nine months since Delaware’s first case.

Carney spoke about the situation during his weekly online coronavirus briefing, pointing out that another mitigation is the arrival of Delaware’s batch of vaccines that led to the first shots for health care workers early Tuesday.

But the governor and Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the state Division of Public Health, stressed that vaccines for the general public won’t be available until March, so residents must do their part to protect each other during holidays and colder months.

“We’re very worried,’’ said Carney, who unlike in previous sessions did not threaten stricter measures. However, he once again urged constituents to be “very conscious of social settings in which you find yourself.”

He urged family members to limit their trips to the store and personal appointments to avoid “as many exposures” as possible.

“We can get through this if we lean into those protective measures this month and into January and beyond,” Carney said. “We still know that colder days are ahead and there will be more times we will be indoors with one another and obviously that increases the risk.”

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