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DHSS Press Release



Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

DPH Media Contact:
Tim Turane
Email: DPHMedia@Delaware.gov

Date: September 16, 2022
DHSS-9-2022





MONTHLY COVID-19 UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 16, 2022:
COVID-19 CASES, HOSPITALIZATIONS DECLINE IN LAST MONTH; DPH SHARES INFORMATION ON BIVALENT BOOSTERS


DOVER, DE (September 16, 2022) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is pleased to share declines in hospitalizations, test positivity rates and the 7-day average of new positive COVID-19 cases continued for the second month in a row. Deaths also remain low. However, COVID-19 is still circulating in the community, and at higher levels in some counties. Additionally, while hospitalizations overall are down, in recent weeks they have increased in the 0-4 months age range and the 18-34 years age range. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels data tracker, which was last updated on September 15, COVID-19 community levels in Kent and Sussex counties are considered medium, while levels in New Castle County are listed as low.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC have authorized the new bivalent boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which target two strains of COVID-19: the original strain of the virus, and two of the Omicron variants (BA.4 and BA.5), currently, the most widespread variants in the world. The updated bivalent boosters are available to all individuals 12 years of age and older who have received their primary series of vaccination at least two months before (a minimum of two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax and one dose of Johnson and Johnson). Individuals who have recently had COVID-19 are still encouraged to get a booster to optimize their protection but should consider waiting three months after they have recovered.

Changes in the virus necessitated new, updated boosters to improve protection. To reduce confusion among the public and vaccine providers, and because they do not offer the increased levels of protection provided by the bivalent boosters, the original booster formula is no longer authorized for use in those 12 and older. Medical providers may no longer administer them to anyone older than 12.

By authorizing the vaccines in September rather than waiting until later this fall, the CDC estimates the prevention of over 137,000 hospitalizations and 9,200 deaths in the first two months alone. To further support the effectiveness of vaccines and boosters in reducing serious illness, a study of the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that during the original Omicron surge earlier this year, unvaccinated individuals were 10.5 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who were vaccinated and boosted.

Pfizer-BioNTech boosters are authorized for ages 12 and older, while Moderna is authorized for 18 years of age and older. Regardless of which brand of vaccine you previously received, you can get any bivalent booster for which you are eligible. As of this time, only the monovalent boosters targeting the original strain are available for children 5 through 11 years of age. Parents are encouraged to vaccinate their children now with the primary series and most current boosters when eligible until the bivalent boosters are authorized for this age group. With the rise in hospitalizations among those ages 0 - 4 years old, parents of young children are particularly encouraged to get their children vaccinated.

DPH strongly encourages everyone 12 and older to get their bivalent booster as soon as they are eligible, and well in advance of any possible surge in the late fall or winter. Individuals may also get a booster at the same time as they get their annual flu vaccine, but it is recommended to do so in different arms. Bivalent boosters are available at DPH clinics, many pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers and some community events. You can find a list of locations at de.gov/getmyvaccine. or at vaccines.gov. More details on the bivalent booster can be found at de.gov/boosters.

The webpage also has a link to a flier for the public which highlights some similarities between the labels of bivalent boosters and some primary series vaccines. Those getting a booster are encouraged to print and take a copy of the flier with them, or pull it up on their phone's web browser, and ask the vaccine provider to show you the vial that your bivalent booster is being drawn from so you can confirm it is the correct one. It is an important step in being an educated health consumer and advocate for your personal health.

The below data is as reported on Delaware's My Health Community data portal on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.

COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations:

*Case and testing data are based on reporting of lab-confirmed COVID-19 tests only. The number of COVID-19 cases in the community is higher than what is reported because of the use of at-home test kits.

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

All qualifying Delawareans should get vaccinated. For a location near you, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.. Delaware's latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healtycommunity

COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:

The following reports capture a weekly breakdown of non-boosted cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for the time frame of Sep 5 - Sep 11, 2022.

Non-boosted: Case - Hospital - Death

Weekly Overview
(09/05/22 - 09/11/22)
# of Non-boosted Cases
Total Non-boosted 886
Total Cases 1288
Percent of Non-boosted Cases 64%
Non-boosted Hospitalized cases # of Cases
Total Non-boosted Hospitalized Cases 84
Total Hospitalized Cases 136
Percent of Non-boosted Cases 61%
Non-boosted Deaths # of Cases
Total Non-boosted Deaths 0
Total COVID-19 Deaths 1
Percent of Non-boosted Deaths 0%

Note:
Case and Hospitalization Count: based on RTS (Report to State Date) Death: based on DoD (Date of Death)


Long-term Care Statistics:

As of Thursday, September 15, 2022, there have been a total of 4,573 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 979 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.

Resources:

Individuals with general questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211, or email delaware211@uwde.org. Hours of operation are:

Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware's response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.



Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.





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