Mask mandates, stay-at-home orders cut Delaware’s COVID-19 cases, deaths

Mask mandates and stay-at-home orders resulted in significant drops in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Delaware, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Nov. 7 (UPI) — Statewide stay-at-home orders and mask mandates issued by officials in Delaware in the spring reduced COVID-19 cases by 82% and hospitalizations associated with the disease by 88%, while dropping deaths from the virus down to zero, according to new data.

The figures, published Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cover the period from March 11, when the first case of infection was identified in the state, through the end of June, agency researchers said.

The state implemented stay-at-home orders March 24 and required that face coverings be used in public places statewide after April 28.

“Implementation of mitigation measures, including mandated mask use, coupled with public health interventions, was followed by reductions in COVID-19 incidence and associated hospitalizations and mortality,” the CDC researchers wrote.

New case rates, as well as hospitalizations and deaths linked to COVID-19, peaked in Delaware in mid-April, according to the CDC.

In addition to the measures intended to contain the spread of the virus, public health officials in Delaware launched a contact tracing program May 12. The program sought to identify close contacts of those infected and encourage them to self-isolate to limit further transmission, the CDC said.

Of the 9,762 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the state as of June 25, public health officials interviewed two-thirds of the individuals for contract tracing, the data showed.

Among those interviewed, 60% completed a two-week isolation to avoid contact with others, and a total of 2,834 close contacts were reported. Of those, 31% were interviewed and 82% reported completing quarantine.

The findings show that “the combination of state-mandated community mitigation efforts and routine public health interventions can reduce the occurrence of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” CDC researchers said.


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