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Gov. John Carney has reentered Delaware into a state of emergency. Photo Credit: Jason Minto/State of Delaware
Gov. John Carney has reentered Delaware into a state of emergency. Photo Credit: Jason Minto/State of Delaware

Delaware goes under a state of emergency amid COVID surge

Gov. John Carney announced the declaration, starting Jan. 3, after The First State sees upticks in daily cases and hospitalizations.

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Delaware is in a new state of emergency, effective today, Jan. 3, 2022, to combat the current surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

As part of the state of emergency declaration, Delaware will be able to have additional flexibility in its response to the surge, and utilize help from the National Guard.

Approximately 100 members of the Delaware National Guard are currently being trained to become certified nursing assistants

“Members of our Guard and frontline health care workers continue to step up time and time again,” said Delaware Governor John Carney in a statement. “We need all Delawareans and Delaware businesses to step up and help us get through this winter surge.”

He added that at the state level, the focus is on reducing the strain on Delaware hospitals this winter, and getting more residents vaccinated.

On Friday, Dec. 31, state health officials reported the highest number of new positive daily cases since the start of the pandemic. The number of hospitalizations reached a record high of 485. The previous high was 474 on Jan. 12, 2021. 

“We are seeing numbers that really exceed the peak of what we saw last year,” Dr. Matthew Hoffman, a physician with ChristianaCare, told CBSPhilly

As of Sunday, Jan. 2, the state is seeing nearly 2,063 new positive cases a week.

The surge has also led some Delaware institutions to shift to online learning, including Wilmington University, which announced that all its locations will be closed and staff will work and operate remotely beginning Jan. 3. 

In addition, Delaware Technical Community College announced that employees will work remotely during the week of Jan. 3, and the University of Delaware will begin the first week of its winter session online.

Both institutions are expected to reevaluate the situation before making official announcements on plans for the winter and spring semesters. 

Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) announced that it will distribute 14,000 rapid COVID tests to community health organizations across the state. 

It has also increased the number of testing appointments at standing sites, however the demand has led to long waits and struggles to get appointments. 

“It is going to be challenging. The people who run the test sites are struggling with their own employees testing positive,” Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik, told the Delaware Business Times

She advises people to be patient and book in advance. 

Delaware's last COVID-related state of emergency was issued on March 13, 2020, and lifted on July 13.

Under Delaware law, Public Health Emergency declarations must be renewed every 30 days.

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