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Delaware reports 649 new COVID-19 cases Friday, a new high for the state as infections surge

Jeff Neiburg
Delaware News Journal

Delaware on Friday reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, adding 649 to its data dashboard as cases and hospitalizations around the country continue to spike ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The previous one-day high was 488, reported on May 10.

The seven-day average of daily cases increased Friday to pandemic-high 398.9. The seven-day average of the percentage of tests that are returned positive on a given day is up to 5.9%, figures not seen since early June, when the state was reporting fewer cases but also testing less of the population.

Delaware reported four new deaths, bringing the pandemic total to 746. The four new deaths ranged in age from 62 to 80. All four had underlying health conditions and three were residents of Delaware long-term care facilities, which have been home to more than half of the state's coronavirus deaths (426).

The number of hospitalizations increased by 40 since last Friday. The state reported 12 additional deaths since last week, too.

Gov. John Carney this week ordered a new round of restrictions in Delaware that will go into effect at 8 a.m. Monday. They include a 10-person limit on indoor gatherings, restaurant capacity dropping to 30% and limits on the size of outdoor gatherings.

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The latest restrictions come as cases and hospitalizations around the country are growing daily. 

A woman is tested for the coronavirus in her car during a drive-thru testing event Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at the Route 9 Library near New Castle.

"The cavalry is on the way," Dr. Anthony Fauci said of a vaccine Thursday during a White House Task Force press conference.

But officials like Fauci and others are warning that next week's Thanksgiving holiday and the holidays in December are going to bring far more devastation before those vaccines arrive.

"I know this is difficult," Carney said this week. "And it’s difficult for me as governor to have to decide to put these restrictions in place. I can tell you, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was the right thing to do.”

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While hospitalizations in Delaware are still at half the peak from the spring, the fear here and around the area is that the latest wave of infection could see a surpassing of those numbers in December and January.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine on Tuesday sent a memo to executive officials of the commonwealth's health systems saying one forecast predicts Pennsylvania could run out of ICU beds at some point in December.

Vehicles line up for free COVID-19 testing at Frawley Stadium Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Wilmington.

Officials are increasingly wary about what will happen if residents gather with family and friends around Thanksgiving, after seeing a spike in cases after Halloween. They are recommending spending Thanksgiving with only members of one's household.

"A lot of this transmission is happening in frankly social environments, parties, dinners, having the guys over to watch the football game inside," Carney said.

Delaware reported an additional 49 cases at public schools this week and four at private schools, while reporting an increase of 21 cases at state child care facilities. Though, as the state notes, it's unclear whether the students were infected while at school.

Some districts have temporarily gone to remote learning in response to positive tests.

Reporter Sarah Gamard contributed to this story.

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Contact Jeff Neiburg at jneiburg@delawareonline.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.