COVID-19 testing options expanding in Delaware

WILMINGTON — Delaware will be shifting its COVID-19 testing sites to 15 to 20 consistent venues, open five to seven days a week, A.J. Schall, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, said at a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

The state is also planning to roll out an at-home testing option in the near future, which would be an expansion of a service already available for school staff.

In addition, Mr. Schall said the state is expecting to announce five more testing sites to extend the state’s partnership with Walgreens. The state currently has three Walgreens testing sites, one in each county.

The new testing protocol should be finalized later in the week, Mr. Schall said, and more information will be available then.

The enhancements to COVID-19 testing comes after Delaware saw its average number of tests fall in the middle of August. At the start of the month, it averaged 13,023 COVID-19 tests per day but that number dropped to 11,268 the week of Aug. 15.

“It has not been because of capacity or availability of tests,” Mr. Schall said. “It’s really just interest. … We were seeing hundred of open spots at some of these drive-thru events that we had.”

The testing numbers did come back up later in the month, helped out by the state’s testing events in school districts prior to the start of the academic year.

There was an average of 15,731 tests done per day from Aug. 29 to Sept. 4.

“I think lot of that could be due to universities coming back in session,” Schall said. “As well as we did a big push with the school districts opening up in Sussex and Kent as well as the private and charter schools to do some outreach with their partners at the Department of Education to get your children tested before they went back.”

Mr. Schall said about 10,000 school staff (teachers, administration, bus drivers, etc.) were tested for the virus. According to Mr. Schall, the percentage of positive tests were less than 0.6% which is about 40 cumulative cases.

The state aims to have school staff tested once per month, with 25% being tested each week.

The at-home option available for school staff will soon be available for individuals who have difficulty going to testing sites. The test is shipped to the individual’s home, can be done over Zoom if the individual needs directions and is then mailed back to a testing lab. Results for these tests usually take 24-48 hours, Mr. Schall said.

Mr. Schall said more information on the at-home testing option will be available in a week to 10 days.

The state has seen COVID-19 increases in four areas, according to Delaware Division of Public Health Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay. The upticks have come in Newark, Wilmington, New Castle and Dover.

“We want to encourage people in those areas to be aware of these increases,” Dr. Rattay said.

The state has set up two testing sites in Dover this week — at Transformation AMEZ Church today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at Delaware Tech’s Terry Campus on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

With Labor Day Weekend just ocurring, Dr. Rattay encouraged anyone who spent 15 minutes or more less than six feet away from someone from another household to get tested.

“There is adequate testing available in the state of Delaware,” Dr. Rattay said. “So anyone who wants to get tested, please get tested,”

A full list of testing sites, which can be sorted by date and by zip code, can be found at de.gov/gettested.


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 2 guidance

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