Delaware Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee presents interim report

WILMINGTON — Delaware’s Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee (PRAC) presented Gov. John Carney its interim report Friday for an effort to plan for a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall.

The PRAC is made up of 46 people, led by three subcommittee chairs. It plans to release its full report some time in September.

“We don’t know what to expect in the fall and your work is so important to get us to focus on the things where we need to get better and where we need to come together,” Gov. Carney said, addressing the committee. “I think the biggest challenge that we face is I don’t want to go back to a place where we’re shutting things down again, because I don’t know if we can afford to.”

“I don’t know that anybody has figured out a way to manage their economies in whatever states,” Gov. Carney added. “I hear the governors from other states on a weekly basis. The governors of Arizona, Texas and Florida are shutting things down a month or two months after we did it here. We’re starting to reopen but we got to find that spot. … We’ve got to have both a healthy community and a healthy economy.”

The three subcommittees are broken down into health, equity and business. Health is led by Dr. Nancy Fan, chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission, equity is led by Eugene Young, president, Metropolitan Urban League of Wilmington and business is led by Katie Wilkinson, chair of the board of directors for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

The three goals of the PRAC are stated as: develop a healthcare system and public health strategy in case of a resurgence of COVID-19, identify tactics and resources to manage a possible resurgence and assess methods to protect vulnerable populations and consider disproportionate effects on minority-owned businesses.

In regards to the economy, Ms. Wilkinson said one of the primary concerns from the PRAC was trying to foster a culture of compliance among the community, “to create a sense of shared accountability for individuals and businesses to adhere to public health guidance,” as written in the report.

“How do we build a culture of compliance at the state level for businesses, consumers and communities?” Ms. Wilkinson said. “This needs to be consistent. It needs to be shared. It needs to be something that we’re proud of. That’s why we talk about creating a culture of accountability. Enforcement will be challenging and has continued to be challenging but we made some recommendations in the report on that.”

Dr. Fan spoke about creating a working group with the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) who can be quick to respond to any changes with the virus and also recommended making sure Delaware has an increased supply of Personal Protective Equipment.

“We’re hoping to implement a lot of our recommendations prior to having a resurgence so that we’re prepared this time,” Dr. Fan said. “We want to make sure we’re not behind the eight ball when it comes to keeping our health care workers, our community essential workers and anyone who can transit this disease safe.”

Mr. Young said his subcommittee focused on expanding emergency financial assistance on workers impacted by COVID-19 and creating more protection for those facing eviction or having trouble paying rent or their mortgage. On the health side, he said it concentrated on making testing more widely available.

“We’re seeing a lot of communities who have really been impacted by COVID-19 because they have low resources,” Mr. Young said. “It’s hard to get the testing that they need. You find the transmission rate is so high.”

The full interim report and a detailed list of the subcommittees recommendations can be found here.

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COVID-19 update

As the PRAC planned ahead the DPH also announced its daily COVID-19 update with 103 new positive cases and four new deaths.

Two of the deaths were individuals from Kent County while the other two were from New Castle County. Two individuals had underlying health conditions according to the DPH and none were residents of a long-term care facility. All four were between the ages of 70 and 87.

Hospitalizations dropped by 23 compared to the previous day as they went from the highest point this month at 69 to now the lowest at 46. Of those 46, 11 are considered critical.

The DPH reported a percentage of positive test rate of 4.7% for Friday’s data while the seven-day rolling average was at 4.3%.

The total of positive COVID-19 cases is now at 14,788. There was an additional 39 recoveries, bringing that total to 8,179, and 2,087 people who tested negative bringing that total to 166,259.

The DPH also released its weekly long-term care report on Friday.
There have been a total of 1,193 positive COVID-19 cases cumulatively involving long-term care residents, and 361 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19, according to the DPH.

The total number of deaths among long-term care residents was updated since last Friday to account for five additional individuals who were since identified as residents of long-term care facilities.

All numbers via the DPH are as of 6 p.m. Thursday.

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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