DOVER, Del. (AP) — A 66-year-old man from southern Delaware is the state’s first coronavirus death, public health officials said Thursday.
The Sussex County man had underlying health conditions and passed away while hospitalized out of state.
Officials refused to provide further details, including where the man was hospitalized, what day he died, or whether he contracted the virus in Delaware.
“We just learned of this death late last night. Our epidemiologists are still investigating the circumstances,” said public health director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
Meanwhile, officials reported that three Delawareans who tested positive for the virus are considered “recovered,” along with a fourth “presumptive positive” individual.
Also Thursday, Delaware officials reported that the number of unemployment claims filed for the week ending March 21 shattered the previous record for claims filed in an entire month.
Officials said 10,790 claims were filed last week, following state-mandated closures and restrictions on many businesses because of the coronavirus outbreak. The number of claims easily exceeded the monthly record of 9,632 set in January 2002. It also represented an increase of more than 2,100% from the previous week.
Hundreds of Delaware businesses including restaurants, bars, theaters and fitness centers have been forced to close or severely restrict operations under an emergency declaration by Gov. John Carney.
Among the businesses ordered to cease operations were firearms dealers, some of whom have defied the closure order. In response, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency issued cease-and-desist letters this week to several gun shop owners.
As of Thursday, there had been 130 coronavirus cases reported in Delaware. That number included 86 in New Castle County, 17 in Kent County and 27 from Sussex County. The individuals range in age from 1 to 90. Thirteen are hospitalized within Delaware, with seven reported to be critically ill. Two other Delaware residents are hospitalized out of state.