Carney coronavirus COVID19

Governor John Carney laid out Delaware's latest estimate for its peak of COVID-19, and there was some cautious optimism.

Carney said Delaware has been focusing on models from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when making decisions on what businesses and activities to close in Delaware in relation to the coronavirus.

He kicked off a virtual tele-town hall held by U.S. Senator Chris Coons' office by saying where he felt the 928-positive case number will be going in upcoming days.

"Our model predicts that the number of cases which is just below 1,000 will accelerate up to nearly 3,000 by the middle of the month. That's based upon the FEMA projections with their models."

While that number is most important, he said he's been focused on the ratio of lab-confirmed positive cases in Delaware and the number of hospitalizations.

As of Tuesday night, there were 928 positives and 147 statewide hospitilization, although the Department of Public Health's numbers leave room for skepticism since there could be unknown positives, and earlier this week they began adding out-of-state residents into the hospitilization numbers.

If Delaware does see that count triple towards 3,000 in the next one to two weeks, there is a corresponding rise in beds according to the FEMA model similar to the 5:1-6:1 positive-to-hospitalization ratio Delaware has now.

"Our hospitalization rate will ramp up to about 653 hospital rooms compared to the 150ish we have today."

Delaware has been preparing in case that number is off, receiving a total of 100 ventilators being donated by California and the U.S. Government stockpile, and also creating overflow sites at A.I. duPont Children's Hospital, Governor Bacon Health Center, and a pop-up hospital at one or several of the hospitals in Kent or Sussex counties, depending on where the need is identified.

While any model is simply an estimate, Carney had some good news. If FEMA's road map comes close to playing out, those sites may not be needed.

"We have the capacity in our system right now to absorb that, but we're preparing to stand up alternative care sites."

Ultimately, Carney said the pressure lays on people paying attention to social distancing and stay-at-home orders, which are factored into projections.

"Our success in doing that will depend on all of us. It will depend on people following the rules, staying at home, washing their hands..."