State officials this week heralded some good news for Newark and the University of Delaware, which are both seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
“Overall, you can see that it's quieter in Newark, as far as cases this past week, than it has been in well over a month,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health.
After hitting a peak of 80 cases in the last week of September, UD reported just 27 last week. Ten cases were reported Thursday, bringing this week’s total to 18 so far.
Since the semester began, UD has seen 381 cases.
The numbers for Newark as a whole – which include UD cases – have leveled off as well, though Rattay said there was a slight increase in cases among non-UD students.
The city is averaging five new cases per day, down from a peak seven-day average of 19 per day in mid September. Since the pandemic began in March, Newark has seen 667 cases, two-thirds of which have come since UD students returned Aug. 30.
Eleven Newarkers have died from COVID-19, but none since May.
Gov. John Carney recognized both UD and the city of Newark for their efforts in combatting the virus by cracking down on large gatherings, among other measures.
“As we saw this outbreak here, there was a lot of cooperation between town officials and the University of Delaware, lots of testing that took place, and so far, we've seen kind of a flattening of those cases,” Carney said.
He praised the two entities for taking the issue seriously.
“Our hats go off to them. Let's keep up the good work,” Carney said, while emphasizing that vigilance is still required. “It’s not over till it’s over. Let’s not spike the ball yet.”
In a statement, UD President Dennis Assanis thanked the university community for taking virus prevention seriously.
“We are encouraged by the recent downward trend in COVID-19 cases in our community, thanks to the widespread and ongoing efforts of UD students, faculty, staff and partners in local and state government,” Assanis said. “At the University of Delaware, we have reduced the density of our campus population and are testing students and employees frequently, requiring daily health checks to enter campus facilities and vigorously promoting healthy behaviors to help slow the spread of COVID-19. While every case is a cause for concern, I am extraordinarily proud of how effectively members of the UD community have worked together to protect themselves and others throughout the state.”