Delaware governor announces new state of emergency

December 31, 2021 GMT

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware’s governor announced a new emergency declaration Thursday as the state works to relieve pressure on strained hospitals amid a coronavirus surge.

The new state of emergency declaration that goes into effect Monday will give the state more flexibility in its response to the surge and allow National Guard members to work as nursing assistants as some patients are moved from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities, Gov. John Carney said.

Officials aim to help crowded hospitals by moving patients currently in emergency rooms and beds in hospitals to long term care and other assisted facilities, Carney said in an online briefing. About 100 Guard members are being trained as certified nursing assistants.

Carney also formally extended the public health emergency order another 30 days to allow the state and medical providers to continue vaccination and testing programs.

ADVERTISEMENT

Delaware is reporting 454 people hospitalized Thursday, nearing the 474 peak the state reached in January, Carney said. He had hoped that the state would peak before reaching that level again, but he said the state is now on pace to surpass that mark.

Carney called on people to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors. But Carney and Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik also urged people to rethink plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations with the virus spreading so widely.

“If you are gathering with people indoors and you do not have a mask on over this next week and on New Year’s Eve, you should expect to become positive with COVID,” Magarik said. “It is everywhere.”

For those who do go out to celebrate, Magarik asked them to avoid potentially exposing others in the days afterward.

___

This story has been corrected to update the number of National Guard members being trained. It is 100, not 1,000.