Delaware doing well in midst of COVID-19 outbreak so far but obstacles remain

DOVER — Delaware is seeing positive results from its social distancing policies, particularly orders requiring people to stay home and non-essential businesses to close, but the coronavirus ouAtbreak is far from over.

Gov. John Carney, Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay and Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director A.J. Schall offered an update on the situation Tuesday, urging Delawareans to continue following emergency mandates. Officials credit those restrictions for helping limit person-to-person contact and stem the spread so far, noting traffic is down 70 percent.

As of Tuesday, there have been 1,926 confirmed coronavirus cases and 43 deaths. The first official case here was announced March 11.

On April 6, officials shared a chart forecasting around 3,200 cases in Delaware by April 12. Data presented by the state Tuesday offers a prediction of the next six days, estimating the count will hit 3,000 over the weekend.

However, at that number, even if 20 percent of patients require hospitalization, the state would still be below capacity, according to Gov. John Carney.

Delaware has a sufficient supply of equipment right now, the governor said, noting California offered to lend some ventilators to the First State. However, they would have to be returned by April 21, and Delaware won’t need them by then, he said.

Delaware joined a partnership with five other states in the area Monday to prepare to reopen once the virus threat abates, but both officials from those states and Delaware say they aren’t rushing to send people back to work — far more important is ensuring public health is secure.

The arrangement formalizes some practices already in place, such as coordinating restrictions imposed in Delaware and neighboring states.

“We need to be acting and making decisions in concert with what’s happening around us,” Gov. Carney said.

Delaware is set to receive some emergency funding from the federal government, and President Donald Trump earlier this month declared a major disaster here. Exactly what that means practically is not entirely clear, however, with Delaware still awaiting guidance from Washington about some specific types of aid.

Many people are wondering when life will return to normal and businesses will reopen, but that’s a question that has no answer yet.

“We won’t turn the light on or turn the dimmer switch back up a day too soon or a day too late,” Gov. Carney said, describing it as “heartbreaking” to hear from business owners worried about their finances.

As for the state, Delaware could lose $500 million in revenue, according to the governor. The proposed operating budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 is about $4.63 billion. Updated fiscal projections will be released Monday.

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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