Governor likely to consider more restrictions as COVID-19 cases spike again in Delaware
As the weather gets colder and COVD-19 cases continue to rise across the state and country, Delaware Gov. John Carney is likely to consider additional restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
On Friday, Carney's office said new sanctions could be on their way, but would not specify what lies ahead for Delaware.
"We’re starting to see in Delaware what we’ve seen across the country as it gets colder – rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations," Carney's spokesman Jonathan Starkey texted on Friday. "The governor will consider new restrictions if that becomes necessary to reduce the spread, based on advice from the public health experts."
Carney won reelection on Tuesday after nearly eight months of handling the pandemic in the First State. In the spring, he ordered many businesses to close in an attempt to mitigate the spread. He also implemented a stay-at-home order and beach closures and required residents to wear masks in public, among other mandates.
Many restrictions have eased since in an attempt to balance economic health with public health. The shutdown led thousands of Delawareans to file for unemployment, and many are still trying to recover from the financial impact that this virus has had on their lives.
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In a debate with Republican opponent Julianne Murray last month, Carney said a shutdown similar to the one the state had earlier this year was not feasible and that Delawareans have to "adapt to a new normal," like routinely wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
When pressed on exactly what coronavirus restrictions are still on the table in Delaware, Starkey did not divulge details on Friday.
"That depends on the level of spread we’re seeing, but I don’t want to speculate," Starkey wrote.
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On Friday, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services tweeted that Delaware saw 271 new positive cases on Thursday — the highest number of daily cases since May.
On Monday, the state reported that the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in Delaware has increased to 111.3, which is considered an indicator of "significant community spread."
Average daily cases is one of the three criteria the state looks at when deciding to reopen schools.
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It's the first time since the state began tracking this information in July that the daily average has gone from the yellow zone to the red zone, per the state's tracking methods. The yellow zone is between five and 100 average daily cases. The red zone is over 100 average daily cases.
Across the country, cases are surging. On Wednesday, the one-day record count in the U.S. of 102,831 positive cases was the first daily total to surpass 100,000. On Thursday, that record was broken again when the country reported 121,888 more new infections.
Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online/The News Journal. You can reach her at (302) 324-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.