First South African COVID variant reported in Delaware

March 6, 2021

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 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 is the same variant first discovered in England in December and commonly referred to as the UK variant. The cases include 11 adults ranging in age from 18 to 65, as well as a child under age 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 different, but as these new variants may be more contagious, it is even more important that people 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 positive tests 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. Altogether, 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. Individuals who have died from COVID-19 range in age from younger than 5 to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 718 were female and 735 were male; 715 were from New Castle County, 302 were from Kent County, and 436 were from Sussex County.

COVID-19 vaccinations

As of March 5, a total of 253,535 administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been reported to the state’s immunization information system, DelVAX. A total of 278,390 doses have been delivered to the state, and 52,115 doses have been delivered as part of the federal pharmacy programs. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at

Long-term care statistics

As of March 4, there have been 2,434 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 700 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.

The locations and number of deaths involving residents of long-term care facilities are:

Atlantic Shores Rehabilitation and Health Center, Millsboro (23)

Brackenville Center, Genesis Healthcare, Hockessin (23)

Brandywine Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Wilmington (36)

Brandywine Living at Seaside Pointe, Rehoboth Beach (5)

Brookdale Dover, Dover (15)

Cadia Healthcare Broadmeadow, Middletown (17)

Cadia Healthcare Capitol, Dover (21)

Cadia Healthcare Renaissance, Millsboro (11)

Cadia Healthcare North Wilmington/Silverside, Wilmington (33)

Cadia Healthcare Pike Creek, Pike Creek (2)

Churchman Village, Newark (21)

Country Rest Home, Greenwood (16)

Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, Smyrna (15)

Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Delmar (2)

Dover Place, Dover (6)

Foulk Manor South, Wilmington (14)

Forwood Manor, Wilmington (6)

Governor Bacon Health Center, Delaware City (1)

HarborChase of Wilmington, Wilmington (4)

Harbor Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Lewes (45)

Harrison House Senior Living, Georgetown (47)

Hillside Center, Wilmington (8)

Ingleside Assisted Living, Wilmington (2)

Kentmere Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Wilmington (9)

Kutz Senior Living, Wilmington (9)

Little Sisters of the Poor, Newark (11)

Lofland Park Center, Genesis Healthcare, Seaford (6)

ManorCare Health Services, Wilmington (20)

ManorCare Health Services, Pike Creek (27)

Methodist Country House, Wilmington (4)

Millcroft, Newark (3)

Milford Center, Genesis Healthcare, Milford (48)

New Castle Health and Rehabilitation Center, New Castle (12)

Newark Manor Nursing Home, Newark (11)

Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation, Wilmington (26)

Pinnacle Rehabilitation and Health Center, Smyrna (37)

Regal Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Hockessin (14)

Regency Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Wilmington (9)

Seaford Center, Genesis Healthcare, Seaford (3)

Shipley Manor, Wilmington (12)

Silver Lake Center, Genesis Healthcare, Dover (2)

Somerford House and Place, Newark (5)

Summit Assisted Living, Hockessin (3)

Sunrise Assisted Living, Wilmington (2)

The Center at Eden Hill, Dover (7)

The Moorings at Lewes, Lewes (4)

Westminster Village, Dover (23)

WillowBrooke Court Skilled Center at Manor House, Seaford (12)

WillowBrooke Court at Cokesbury Village, Hockessin (4)

Three other New Castle County long-term care facilities (1 death at each facility)

One other Kent County long-term care facility (1 death at this facility)

If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or headache, or congestion or runny nose without a known cause such as allergies. Other symptoms such as abdominal pain or lack of appetite have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may prompt further screening, action or investigation by a primary care provider. If you are sick and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy to get what you need.

DPH reminds Delawareans that if you believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, make sure to distance yourself from others, particularly vulnerable populations. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions – including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment – may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Information about testing events, including community testing sites, permanent fixed testing sites, and free-standing sites operated by the health care systems and hospitals, will be listed on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus website at

Individuals with general questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1; those who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211, or email Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by emailing  


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