Weekly COVID-19 Update – Dec. 17, 2021: Surge of New Positive Cases Continues

DOVER, DE (Dec. 17, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is providing an update on the most recent statistics related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Delaware, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 164,092
  • 7-day average of new positive cases: 677.1, an increase from 596.6 last week
  • 7-day average for the percentage of total positive tests: 9.8%, an increase from 9.3% last week
  • Hospitalizations: 359, an increase of 42 from last week; critically ill: 42, an increase of nine from last week
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 2,234
  • Total COVID-19 deaths reported since last week: 23

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

  • Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,496,730
  • Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 79.9%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 85.6%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who received at least one dose (CDC data): 87.6%
  • Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 63.4%

Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection from COVID-19 infection, serious illness and death. All qualifying Delawareans should get vaccinated. Individuals who qualify for a booster dose should get one as soon as possible. For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity.

Holiday COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Closures:

All Public Health Clinics that offer COVID-19 vaccination will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, and Friday, Dec. 31 in observance of the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Additionally, the clinics and participating Walgreens will also be closed for COVID-19 testing Thursday, Dec. 23 – Saturday, Dec. 25, and Thursday, Dec. 30 – Saturday, Jan. 1. Walgreens sites that offer Sunday testing hours will operate Sunday, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

While DPH standing vaccine sites at the Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover, Canby Park in Wilmington, Georgetown Plaza in Sussex County and Oxford/University Plaza in Newark will be closed for vaccinations, the sites will be open for Curative COVID-19 testing on Sunday, Dec. 26 and Sunday, Jan. 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit curative.com to schedule your appointment. Other testing and vaccine sites may be open. Visit de.com/gettested and de.gov/getmyvaccine for a list of locations.

COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:  

The following report captures a weekly breakdown of vaccination status for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for the time frame for Dec. 6 – Dec. 12. The report highlights the significant percentage of unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated individuals comprising Delaware’s cases and hospitalizations.

Weekly Overview
(12/6 -12/12)

Unvaccinated Cases

Total Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases


Total Cases


Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases



Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases


Total Hospitalized Cases


Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases



Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths


Total COVID-19 Deaths


Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths


 Breakthrough Cases (cumulative since vaccinations began):

  • Total breakthrough cases: 8,971 or 1.6% of fully vaccinated individuals
  • Total breakthrough hospitalizations: 142
  • Total breakthrough deaths: 111

A breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more.

COVID-19 Variant Cases in Delaware:  

During the week of Dec. 9 – Dec. 15, a total of 593 test samples were sequenced through routine surveillance of test specimens. Of those test samples, 404 (68.1%) sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were 14 additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. Out of the 418 variant positive samples, all were identified as the Delta strain.

In addition, DPH announced earlier today that it has identified the first four cases of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) among Delaware residents. The variant was detected through routine sequencing on Friday, Dec. 17.

The Omicron variant has been classified as a Variant of Concern by both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This variant was first reported in South Africa and has since been detected in more than 70 countries and at least 35 states, including Delaware, in the United States. Virus mutations are common. Preliminary data suggests the Omicron variant may spread more easily and quickly than previous variant strains of the virus.

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory and other laboratories regularly monitor for the presence of COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, through routine genomic sequencing of test specimens. Genome sequencing is a public health surveillance tool used to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 variants; it is not used to diagnose individuals with a specific strain of COVID-19, as treatment recommendations do not differ based on variant strains. COVID-19 tests identify current infection of COVID-19, but do not identify a specific variant of the virus the individual might have.

DPH COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Units:

DPH officials in partnership with medical staff from the Delaware National Guard (DNG) have mobile units that offer COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities.

Monday, Dec. 20

Salvation Army, 107 S. Market St., Wilmington, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 21

DeLaWarr State Service Center, 500 Rogers Road, New Castle, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Smyrna State Service Center, 200 S. DuPont Blvd., Suite 100, Smyrna, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Laurel State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar St., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Save A Lot, 401 W. Stein Hwy., Seaford, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 22

Claymont State Service Center, 3301 Green St., Claymont, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 23

Appoquinimink State Service Center, 122 Silver Lake Road, Middletown, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Smyrna State Service Center, 200 S. DuPont Blvd., Smyrna, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Laurel State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar St., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Mount Zion African Methodist Church, 18211 Beach Hwy., Ellendale, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

*dates may be rescheduled if there is inclement weather

For a full list of community-based events statewide including those organized by vaccinating partners and community groups at de.gov/getmyvaccine.

Long-term Care Statistics:

As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, there have been a total of 3,018 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 870 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.

Flu Update:

Flu cases are increasing in Delaware, with 99 cases reported in the most recent week.  As of Dec. 11, 2021, the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been 224 laboratory-confirmed cases for the current season. The cases involved 151 individuals from New Castle County, 24 from Kent County and 49 from Sussex County. This number reflects only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely higher as not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid test kits in a provider’s office versus a lab.

Now is the time to get vaccinated against the flu if you haven’t already. Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies (including those in grocery stores), participating medical provider offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for their patients), as well as Division of Public Health clinics. DPH is also advising the public that the flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

For the latest information on the flu in Delaware, visit flu.delaware.gov.


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:

Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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

Delawareans 18 or older are encouraged to download COVID Alert DE, Delaware’s free exposure notification app to help protect your neighbors while ensuring your privacy. Download on the App Store or Google Play.

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


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