By Jasmine Payoute

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Delaware has issued a state of emergency to help alleviate the strain on crowded hospitals as COVID cases continue to surge. It takes effect Monday. One hundred National Guard troops will be deployed to assist health care workers.

Two years into the pandemic and it almost feels like deja vu.

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“We are seeing numbers that really exceed the peak of what we saw last year,” said Dr. Matthew Hoffman, a physician with ChristianaCare.

Hospitals in Delaware are once again strained and stretched thin.

“People have chosen to not believe that this is as severe as it is. The biggest message that we want to say is this is real,” Hoffman said.

On Friday, state health officials reported the highest number of new positive daily cases since the start of the pandemic. The number of hospitalizations reached a record high of 485.

This prompted him to deploy 100 National Guard soldiers who are being trained as certified nursing assistants to hospitals in need.

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“It will give us additional flexibility to help manage the COVID-19 surge,” Carney said.

“I think that’s exceedingly helpful. Our workforce has been challenged. Just as we are caregivers, we’re also patients,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman is seeing the strain first hand.

“We’re seeing more patients leave the emergency departments without treatment because they’re frustrated by the wait,” Hoffman said.

And with hospitalizations on the upswing, officials are asking people to reconsider their New Year’s plans to lessen the possibility of ending up here.

“There was a report of a party with 110 people — 70% of them left with omicron, so this is different,” Hoffman said.

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Health professionals say the biggest help people can offer is getting vaccinated. Officials say that will lessen the strain on hospitals.

Jasmine Payoute