The recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach has caught the attention of Beebe Healthcare officials.
“We are not out of the woods,” said Dr. Bill Chasanov, a board-certified internal medicine and infectious disease physician. “It’s important to recognize that we have to remain vigilant in order to keep ourselves, our family, our loved ones and our friends safe during this time.”
During a June 29 town hall, Chasanov showed a few graphs to illustrate the recent increase in active cases statewide and locally.
“This may not be the time to be going out to crowded places where people are not wearing masks, where they are not physically distancing,” he said. “And it’s extremely important for those with certain medical conditions to avoid those places.”
Delaware is in the midst of Phase 2 of reopening, which permits restaurants and retail stores to open at 60 percent of fire code capacity. On June 30, Gov. John Carney forced restaurants and other establishments to close their bar areas in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Chasanov said going out is each person’s personal decision to make.
“We’re all excited about [going out] because we’ve all been cooped up, but it’s extremely important to remember going out and hanging out in these places may not be the best thing for you,” he said, noting people can contract the virus while in public and pass it on to parents and grandparents.
“We want to think twice before taking the risk,” he said. This is a very individual decision. No one will stop you. Just use your best judgment.”
On June 30, the Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners voted to require face coverings everywhere, including on the beach. The next day, Bethany Beach officials made a similar move, but did not go as far as to require face coverings on the beach.
A contingent of the country’s population is fighting mask wearing, but Dr. David Tam, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, said it continues to be one of the best ways to stop the spread.
“I will tell you the science of it says that the masks make a difference,” he said. “The masks, physical distancing and hand washing are what has helped us flatten the curve.”
According to Delaware Division of Public Health data, the state is doing well in important categories. Kent County and Sussex County have not had a recorded COVID-related death since June 22, and only two deaths have been reported in New Castle County since June 24. Hospitalization and critically ill numbers are also low. On July 1, DPH reported that there were 68 people hospitalized and 13 critically ill. At its peak in late April, the state reported as many as 337 hospitalizations and 71 critically ill individuals.
As of July 2, Delaware has had 11,510 positive cases – 10,466 confirmed, 1,044 probable – and 509 deaths. A total of 6,676 people have recovered from COVID, while 99,874 people tested negative.