Gov. John Carney warns of potential health triple whammy in fall, winter months
DELAWARE – Delaware Governor John Carney warning about a potential health triple whammy. This comes as the First State is expected to see a surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu, and COVID-19 cases.
“With the last two years, we’ve seen COVID-19 and a surge in COVID-19 cases both years, starting just about this time, before the Thanksgiving holiday, and into the December holiday,” said Gov. Carney during a Monday press briefing. “We have the flu virus, which is pretty nonexistent over the last two years as people masked up, and children weren’t in school in person. A lot of protections going on. The flu season was pretty light.”
Gov. Carney says the First State is well-positioned to deal with health crises after the COVID-19 pandemic’s height. However, he calls RSV a complicating factor in the 2022 Fall and Winter seasons, especially for young children. For this reason, Gov. Carney says that Delaware is staying on alert.
“We still are in a public health state of emergency, mostly to allow staffing provisions for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and others. It enables us to activate the National Guard on a local basis,” said Gov. Carney.
During the press briefing, Gov. Carney also revealed updated data on COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Delaware’s seven day average for new cases sits at 131.4, with 7% of tests returning positive. In recent days, 86 Delawareans have been hospitalized with COVID-19, with ten in critical condition. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3,148 Delawareans have died.
“These numbers are not as reliable as the numbers that we used in the past. That’s mostly because we have a lot of in-home testing going on, and so those positive tests are not being registered on our data dashboard,” said Gov. Carney.
When it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, 2.02 million Delawareans have gotten at least one shot, and just over 700,800 have finished their primary series. 76.1% of children five years and older, 80.2% of children 12 years and older, 81.7% of Delawareans between 18 years old and 65 years old, and 95% of Delaware’s seniors have been vaccinated.
“These are factors that were not in effect, certainly in 2020, and 2021. There’s still an opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We would encourage you to do that, and if we would encourage you if you haven’t gotten your second vaccine to do that, and of course be boosted as well,” said Gov. Carney.
However, Gov. Carney says booster shots are lagging. 8.8% of children five years and older, 9.6% of children 12 years and older, 10.3% of Delawareans between 18 years old and 65 years old, and 23.8% of Delaware’s seniors have received a booster.
As the numbers evolve, Gov. Carney says he wants Delawareans to carefully consider their next trip to the hospital.
“You have to remember other people are in hospitals. Secondly, the messaging of ‘don’t go to the hospital’ is not to tell you to not go to the hospital. If you need to be there, you should go,” said Gov. Carney. “But, just remember that if we can keep our flu numbers down, keep our COVID-19 numbers down, do those protective measures, we’re protecting hospital capacity.”
Flu and RSV
Gov. Carney also released new data on flu cases in the First State. In recent weeks, Delaware has recorded 772 cases of the flu, with 483 cases recorded in the last week. So far, Delaware has seen 20 flu hospitalizations. As of Monday’s press conference, Gov. Carney says 233,511 flu shots have been administered in Delaware, covering about 24.1% of the state’s population. The population with the most flu vaccinations, says Gov. Carney, is seniors.
“This is early in the flu season, so there’s more to come. We just want to be careful and cautious of that,” said Gov. Carney.
Meanwhile, RSV cases are also on the rise in Delaware. This season, the First State has recorded 505 cases, with 104 in the last week. Gov. Carney says as health officials continue to monitor the numbers, he encourages Delawareans to play it safe.
“Let’s do the things we know that work. We’ve seen these surges in the past two years. It started right about now, in mid-November just before Thanksgiving and the December holidays in both years. The peak was in the second week of January, at a pretty high level, particularly last year,” said Gov. Carney. “We’re in way better shape this year with respect to COVID-19. A high percentage of people are vaccinated. But, we have flu and RSV to think about at the same time.”
Gov. Carney says Delawareans who are feeling sick should stay home.
“You don’t want to be out there bringing the virus with you, whatever it might be, the flu, or COVID-19, and spreading it to friends and neighbors,” said Gov. Carney.
The Governor also says those living the First State should consider getting all their vaccinations completed.
“Get vaxxed and boosted if you’re eligible. We saw a large percentage of the population that’s already vaccinated for COVID-19. Not as many people have been boosted. So, that’ll help you as well,” said Gov. Carney. “Get your flu shot if you haven’t. And, also, be very thoughtful about the risk in various venues with respect to whether you should wear a mask or not. Think about others if you are feeling sick. It’s a good idea to wear a mask so you don’t spread it to your family members and others.”