Coronavirus

Delaware's percent of positive coronavirus tests now stands at 7.1 percent--that's the highest level since mid-July.

Prior to this week, the state had been "resting comfortably," Governor Carney said, below 5 percent.

The rise in number of cases per day -- above 100 -- will also keep Delaware on quarantine lists for at least another week in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

At his weekly COVID-19 news conference Tuesday. Carney attributed the spike in percent of positive cases to two things--less people being tested--and the return of students to college campuses in Newark and Dover. 

"They ought to be a responsible crowd; it's a lot of folks that are in our colleges and universities that need to be more attentive to following the rules and protecting one another, quite frankly. Mostly it's off-campus social activities, partying, anybody who's been to college knows what I'm talking about, but difficult to change that behavior, but it's something that we really need to do and lean into," he said.

Newark has already limited private gatherings in doors to 12 persons and 20 people outdoors and the University of Delaware

Carney said every college town in America is experiencing the same issue and it's going to come down to enforcement and coordination. 

"We, collectively, have to figure out better messaging. Number one--consequences...you've have civil citations, and you've got university sanctions. Guess what? The students care more about university sanctions, which end u[p in their parents' hands as opposed to a citation from the city of Newark that their parents never see."

The University of Delaware has already threatened sanction, up to expulsion for violating the city's gatherings ordinance.

"It's not just about you and your party and your 20 friends, or 30 or 40 friends. It's about the community; it's about getting children back in schools by pushing those numbers down," said Carney.

Carney said to get children back in schools full-time, Delaware needs its percent of positive cases to drop below 3 percent.

"Our percent positives is going in the wrong direction," he said. "We need to do much better than that.  New positive cases are growing up gradually...we've tested significantly in the back to school population. It's really in the social environments, in the student populations in Newark and in Dover that we need to get our arms around."

This week, the state moved to a fixed testing model rather than pop-up testing sites.

"Our numbers have been decreasing in the community testing sites, we'd been going from about 15,000 individuals a week, closer to about 10,000 the last several weeks. We did see a little uptick two weeks ago and last week with schools going back in session--both in Sussex County and private schools as well," said Delaware Emergency Management Direct A.J. Schall, who heads up testing for the state.

The state has pivoted from "road show" testing sites, with 14 to 18 held each week in conjunction with New Castle County, to 19 permanent testing locations.

"These are made up of Walgreens, service centers...and public health clinics across the state--a variety in each county, that at least will have hours, business hours Monday through Friday. Some of the Walgreens do have Saturday and Sunday hours," said Schall. "We have longer hours, consistent places, so this takes away the gear of somebody that wants to get tested on Monday, but there's not a community event that's coming until Thursday or Friday, there should be something that they can get to sooner rather than waiting until something pops up in their backyard."

The sites use a combination of self-administered saliva-based tests or nasal swabs.

Schall said there would still be some pop-up testing sites.

For a full list of testing sites, click here.