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Delaware News Journal

Delaware health officials on Thursday reported seven additional deaths related to the coronavirus and 192 more cases.

To date, Delaware has reported 8,386 cases and 317 deaths related to COVID-19.

The number of cases in Sussex County, which Gov. John Carney declared a coronavirus hot spot in late April, crossed the 4,000 mark on Wednesday, with 46 new cases reported. New Castle County led all counties Wednesday with 120 new cases, raising its tally to 3,053. In Kent County, 1,281 cases have been reported.

HOT SPOT:  Story of Sussex County’s spike in cases told through the families who are suffering

The number of Delaware residents hospitalized remained at 220, according to the state’s latest figures. Over the past two weeks, the number of residents hospitalized in Sussex County and statewide has been trending down. 

Carney’s administration says it’s closely monitoring the hospitalization rate and the percentage of people who test positive each day. The downward trends in each have led the state to institute a number of “interim steps” ahead of June 1, when Delaware is slated to enter the first phase of its reopening plan.

Delaware’s beaches and boardwalks will open Friday at 5 p.m. with local officials prepared to limit capacity and parking to encourage social distancing. Beachgoers will have to remain 6 feet away from people outside their household, and face coverings will be mandatory on the boardwalk and encouraged on the beach. 

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Protesters at Rehoboth denounce coronavirus restrictions

After weeks of being shut down, the state allowed retailers to start serving customers in-store by appointment on Wednesday. Retailers started offering curbside pickup at the beginning of May.

Carney released new guidance for places of worship on Monday, allowing groups to host expanded in-person religious services with limited capacity and “strict” social distancing. In-person services were previously limited to 10 people at a time. 

Delaware hospitals and health care practices were given the green light to resume elective procedures and routine primary care services on Tuesday because of the decrease in hospitalizations, in addition to an increase in the availability of personal protective equipment.

On June 1, retailers and restaurants will be allowed to open at 30% of fire capacity, while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

In a press release, state officials said complaints regarding violations of public gathering restrictions or out-of-state travel restrictions should be directed to state or local law enforcement. Concerns related to business operations should be sent to hspcontact@delaware.gov. 

Questions regarding business reopenings can be sent to covid19faq@delaware.gov; general questions can be sent to info@delaware211.org; and specific medical questions can be sent to dphcall@delaware.gov. People with questions can also call 211.

All the deaths announced Thursday were of people with underlying health conditions and six were residents of long-term care facilities. They ranged in age from 62 to 88.

Contact Brandon Holveck at bholveck@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @holveck_brandon.

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