100 more positive cases; State gets 5,000 rapid test kits

Positive cases of coronavirus in the state increased to 593 Saturday, marking a jump of more than 100 cases from the day before.

Around the state, 14 people have died from COVID-19, and 95 people are hospitalized. However, 71 people have recovered from the virus.
Individuals who have recovered and those who have died are still included in the overall count, according to the Division of Public Health. Of those tested in Delaware, 5,874 cases have been negative.

The Division of Public Health said there is widespread community transmission occurring throughout the state.

On Saturday, DPH received a shipment of 5,000 rapid test kits, which will primarily be used to test “health care workers, first responders and residents of long-term care facilities where outbreaks are suspected,” according to a release from DPH. Results can be provided in 5 to 15 minutes.

DPH expects to begin using the rapid test kits early next week, pending validation, officials said. The kits are from Pinnacle BioLabs, a Nashville-based company making the tests, and had been held for days in Cincinnati by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a release. There are 400 positive cases in New Castle County, 68 positive cases in Kent County and 125 positive cases in Sussex County.

The most amount of cases falls between the ages of 18 and 49; 322 women and 271 men have tested positive.

For the second straight day, the numbers increased sharply. In two days, positive cases have grown by 200.

Those numbers are expected to leep rising. In a livestream Friday, Gov. John Carney said that the state could surpass 2,000 cases by the end of next week, with more than 700 hospitalizations.

The upper respiratory virus carries symptoms such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite.

Statewide testing at standing health facility sites is under way for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. Those without a primary care provider can contact DPH at 1-888-408-1899, but individuals should not just walk in. Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first.

Among the positive cases are two individuals associated with the Department of Correction, officials announced Friday.

An officer assigned to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center has tested positive, as well as a contract healthcare worker assigned to New Castle County Community Corrections.

The officer was last at Vaughn on Friday, March 27, according to a DOC release. The officer began to self-isolate at home after experiencing flu-like symptoms the next day and sought medical attention Sunday, March 29.

A test was administered while the officer remained at home, officials said. The results were returned on Friday as positive.

“DOC launched aggressive prevention and screening practices for COVID-19 before the virus entered our state, and as community spread has increased across Delaware we have prepared for the increased risk of an infection by officers or inmates,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a prepared statement.

“We already undertake comprehensive daily cleaning in all of our facilities, and that will continue with renewed urgency. I want to emphasize that at this time there is no evidence of transmission within James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. In response to this diagnosis, we will carefully monitor all officers, other employees and inmates at the facility for any symptoms and will immediately isolate, assess and treat any individual who demonstrates any sign of illness.”

The contract healthcare worker assigned to New Castle County Community Corrections, who was tested for COVID-19 on March 20, received a positive diagnosis on Thursday.

That worker has not been in a DOC facility for 18 days — more than the 15-day incubation period of the illness, and has since recovered, officials said.

On Saturday, Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, shared the story of several individuals who had fully recovered from coronavirus in a video. Delaware considers individuals to be fully recovered after they are symptom-free for seven days, according to DPH.

Dr. Rattay talked about a New Castle County couple, where the man’s symptoms began as a fever, followed by body aches. The woman’s symptoms aligned more with the common cold. Dr. Rattay said that the couple got tested and were found to be positive, but had been isolating even before they got their results. The two have now fully recovered.

“We know that there’s also many other Delawareans who have or will recover with no consequences,” she said.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 1 guidance

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