By Natasha Brown

DOVER, Del. (CBS) — The number of hospitalizations in Delaware has hit a new record. Gov. John Carney is pleading with people to stay at home as much as possible.

Hundreds of daily positive COVID-19 cases and rising hospitalizations are causing great concern among Delaware officials.

“Look at the hospitalization number, this is the biggest concern,” Carney said.

Hospitalizations are at the highest level since the pandemic began, with a significant spike just within the past couple of days. There are currently 338 hospitalizations in the state.

“This recent run-up in hospitalizations, driven by activities going indoors, holidays,” Carney said.

Delaware officials say Kent County is of particular concern because of rising virus rates there. The state has initiated robust testing and is implementing stiffer regulations for residents.

“We’ve taken action to declare a stay-at-home advisory, which is just that. We need to reduce the risk,” Carney said.

All schools will return to virtual learning beginning Dec. 14 through Jan. 11, in hopes of mitigating the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the community. Meantime, health officials say hope is on the horizon with the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine next week.

“We’re expecting 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine around Dec. 15,” said Delaware Division of Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

The vaccine will first be administered to health care workers, nursing home staff and patients, and first responders.

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