By Siafa Lewis

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Gov. John Carney is sounding the alarm as COVID cases surge. A state of emergency has been issued in Delaware.

Gov. Carney says the hope is to alleviate the strain on crowded hospitals.

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The current trajectory of COVID cases and hospitalizations is what has Carney and health officials in Delaware worried as we usher in the new year.

“I’ll be declaring a state of emergency effective this coming Monday on Jan. 3,” Carney said.

As is the case elsewhere in the country and throughout the Delaware Valley, the First State is also dealing with an increase in testing, positive COVID cases, hospitalizations and demands for tests.

“When everyone in the state wants something at the same time even the best plans and resource management is just not going to be able to keep pace,” Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik said.

Back in June, Delaware was testing a thousand residents a day. This Monday they conducted 13,000 tests.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate is up to 15% This past summer, it was under 1%.

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In January, the state reached its peak in hospitalizations with 474 COVID patients. They’re currently at 454 and extremely worried they’ll soon blow by the high from roughly 50 weeks ago.

So the governor is calling on Delawareans.

“Everybody can chip in. Residents really need to understand that the omicron variant is very contagious,” Carney said.

The governor’s declaration will also allow the state flexibility in responding to the COVID surge and will enable members of the state’s National Guard to work as certified nursing assistants.

The governor is not enacting a mask mandate for private businesses but he’s imploring his state’s residents to do what he believes is the right thing.

“If you’re not wearing your mask in indoor public places you’re putting yourselves and others at risk,” Carney said.

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The governor and the DHSS also extended the public health emergency order for another 30 days to allow the state and medical providers to continue COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs.