Carney 2-9

"[We] don't want to be left with our guard down," said Governor John Carney Tuesday as he talked about how Delaware continues to improve on the COVID-19 front, while new variants appear on US shores.

"We know that we've already seen the UK variants here in our state," said Director for the Division of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay. "Other variants are circulating that are more contagious. And we just want to make sure people don't let their guard down now that we are seeing some improvements in our cases."

Numbers are looking generally positive, and all seem to be trending in the right direction, the governor said. 

"The number of new cases is down under 400 on a seven-day moving average," Carney said. "Certainly more than half of the peak of several weeks ago [at] over 800 new cases on a seven-day moving average. Our goal for positive tests that are administered is under 5%. Of course, back in the summer, we were down in 2% to 3% range--maybe not quite that low, but certainly well under 5%. Now we're closing in on 5%. This number, a few weeks ago, was 10%...And importantly, our hospitalization numbers down almost half of what it was at its peak into the 470 range."

Rattay said, by the standards at which the organization had set their levels for concern, all areas across the state looked pretty good. 

"We're not going to go over a map of areas of concerns this week, because there are no zip codes in the state of Delaware that meet the criteria we have been using for the past few months," she said. "The criteria I've been using was for zip codes that have more than 500 cases per 100,000 people. And all of our zip codes are below that--in fact, only seven me criteria of 250 for 100,000 people. So, we will establish new criteria, because we do think it's important to know which areas of the state are seeing more spread, but I think we'll just celebrate right now, the fact that throughout our state, we've seen decreases."

Rattay followed up her celebration with caution, urging Delawareans not to let their guard down and undo the good work that's been accomplished so far. 

Delaware's vaccination rollout has led to 126,000 residents receiving at least their first dose--being recognized from the CDC as only one of nine state that has successfully vaccinated 10% of its population--though delays in the supply chain have officials scrambling for second doses while pushing back the start of Phase 1C until more can be procured.

But Rattay did note that if there were people on-hand for a dose outside of their vaccination phase, as long as it was a last resort, she didn't mind t being administered to that individual. 

"It's so incredibly valuable, we don't want to waste any dose," Rattay said. "If you open a vial of Pfizer, as an example, you get six doses out of the vial. So you do need to use those six doses within a few hours, or they are no longer good. We hate to have things go in the garbage. On the other hand, we know that it can be controversial when a healthy 25-year-old, for example, whose occupation doesn't qualify them for a vaccine, gets the vaccine...If you've got a waiting list of people who are 65 and older, and you've got extra vaccine, then make those calls and ask those folks to come in. Really try hard to stay within the phase we're in, and not use those extra vaccines outside of the phase, but we really do not want to see vaccine wasted."