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Officials brace for surge in virus cases, hospitalizations

Last Updated Apr 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm EDT

Delaware Gov. John Carney meets with staffers during a tour of the State Health Operations Center on Monday, March 16, 2020 to get an update on how Delaware is monitoring and responding to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Randall Chase)

DOVER, Del. — Delaware officials are warning of an impending spike in coronavirus cases over the next two weeks and urging residents and businesses to heed restrictions on travel and gatherings.

The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week to 14 as of Friday. The number of cases also has more than doubled and stood at 450 as of Friday afternoon, with more than 60 people hospitalized. Eight of the deaths are related to long-term care facilities.

“The situation in Delaware is getting worse, and we expected it to,” Gov. John Carney said, adding that officials are particularly concerned about an expected surge in hospitalizations.

Emergency management director A.J. Schall said hospitals are preparing for the surge and that officials are monitoring the integrity of the supply chain.

CEO Wayne Smith of the Delaware Healthcare Association, a trade group representing the state’s hospitals, said he believes they will have adequate resources and staffing when the surge hits.

Smith said supplies of protective gear and testing equipment are flowing in greater numbers, and that hospitals are working to implement their own testing rather than having to rely on state facilities or private labs.

“Private labs are a problem. The response time is still way too long,” Smith said, adding that the average wait time is more than seven days.

Meanwhile, public health director Dr. Karyl Rattay expressed concerns about the upcoming religious holidays, a time when many people gather with fellow congregants and family members.

“We are imploring everyone, faith-based leaders and families, to begin thinking now bout how you’re going to do this differently this year,” she said.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

The Associated Press

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