From: Cape Gazette
The Delaware Division of Public Health announced the first case of the South African COVID variant March 5 as the number of cases and hospitalizations continues to drop.
The case involved a New Castle County adult in their 50s who traveled outside of the country prior to testing positive for COVID-19. The person’s test specimens were identified through routine surveillance by the Division of Public Health Laboratory.
Delaware now joins a list of 17 other states and jurisdictions reporting cases of the SA variant. In addition to the newly identified South African variant case, DPH has identified 12 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7, in Delaware. This variant is the same one that was first discovered in England in December and is also commonly referred to as the UK Variant. The cases include 11 adults ranging in age from 18-65, as well as a child under the age of 10. Eight individuals were from New Castle County and four were from Kent County.
Officials said virus mutation is common. Preliminary data suggests the UK variant, as well as Brazilian and South African variants, may spread more easily and quickly, which could lead to increased cases. Public health approach and treatments are not any different, but as these new variants may be more contagious, it is even more important that individuals remain vigilant and continue taking the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus – wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid gatherings.
In the meantime, officials said, cases are decreasing. The seven-day average for the percentage of persons who tested positive for COVID-19 March 4 was 19.2 percent, a decrease from 20.9 percent a week earlier. As of March 2, the seven-day average for the percentage of total tests that were positive was 4.6 percent, a decrease from 5.1 percent Feb. 23.
In addition, 127 individuals are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 – a decrease of 29 from last week. Fifteen of the hospitalized persons are critically ill, down 11 from last week. A total of 87,874 positive cases of COVID-19 among Delaware residents have been reported to DPH since March 11, 2020. The seven-day average of new positive cases decreased to 256.7 March 4.
A total of 1,453 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19 – nearly half were residents of long-term care facilities. The state reported 35 additional deaths since last week’s update. The total number of individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranges in age from younger than 5 to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 718 were female and 735 were male. A total of 715 individuals were from New Castle County, 302 were from Kent County, and 436 were from Sussex County.