The Delaware Division of Public Health officials are looking into the reasons for the increase in the percentage of positive Covid-19 tests.
The closely watched figure has risen from 4.2 percent range early in September to 6.8 percent as of Sunday.
“While we have not identified any particular trend or cause/effect as it relates to the increased percentage of persons who tested positive, positive cases among the younger population do seem to be trending the most,” said Jennifer Brestel,spokesperson for the Division of Public Health.
Brestel said the division is “paying particularly close attention to and working closely with our institutions of higher learning, such as the University of Delaware and Delaware State University to mitigate the spread of infection among the student populations.”
The state is also seeing cases linked to social gatherings.
Areas of Delaware seeing an increase in cases includeBear, Newark, New Castle, Wilmington, and Dover.
So far, UD and DSU have employed different Covid-19 testing strategies.
The University of Delaware required all incoming students to undergo tests before arriving on campus, but has done no mass testing. It uses a dashboard that reports positive cases.
DSU employs regular testing of students. and plans to add a dashboard in the coming weeks.
Another factor that could play into the higher positive test rate could be a decline in the number of people being tested.
Fewer tests can skew the percentage of positive cases, Brestel noted.
“Those at higher risk for infection (having symptoms, close contact with a positive case, etc.) would more likely get tested, so the tested population could be skewed toward positive cases,” Brestel said.
Unlike some states, Delaware does not limit its free testing to those with symptoms or people who may have been exposed to the virus.
This week, the state shifted from drive-up tests to permanent locations with longer hours.