Delaware positive COVID-19 cases at 393, with 12 deaths

DOVER — Delaware announced 25 new coronavirus cases and one death on Thursday. It now has seen 393 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 12 deaths.

Currently, 56 Delawareans are hospitalized from the virus, with 15 critically ill, according to the Division of Public Health. Forty-nine people have recovered, meaning they have gone without symptoms for at least a week.

The most recent death is a 75-year-old man from New Castle County who was in a long-term care facility. Six of the deaths have involved nursing homes, with confirmed coronavirus outbreaks in three different care facilities. Four deaths have occurred at the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence in Newark.

The latest case involves the Governor Bacon Health System, which is run by the state. One staff member and one resident have tested positive for COVID-19, per DPH.

All 12 of the individuals who have died have been at least 66 years old with underlying health conditions, placing them in the high risk category.

Of the 393 cases, 245 involve people from New Castle County, 105 involve Sussex Countians and 43 involve Kent County residents. The affected individuals range in age from 1 to 97.

The state announced its first coronavirus case March 11. The count was 143 a week ago.

As of Wednesday, there had been 4,566 negative test results, DPH said, although it cautions the figure is preliminary and should not be used as a substitute for the number of people who have been tested.

DPH said it cannot release or confirm further information about the patients.

Delaware has been in a state of emergency since March 12. Last week, Gov. John Carney closed non-essential businesses and instructed residents to stay home except for necessary activities like visiting a doctor, exercising or buying groceries.

Anyone who believes he or she may be sick should not go out except for medical appointments. Contact your primary care provider before heading to the emergency room or an urgent care center. A person experiencing a medical emergency such as significant trouble breathing should call 911.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. If you are sick with any of these and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy instead.

Most people recover from COVID-19 with rest and hydration, although illness can be severe in a segment of the population.

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.

For general questions about COVID-19 or exposure risk, call DPH at 1-866-408-1899 (711 for individuals who are hearing impaired) from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday or email DPHCall@delaware.gov.

For more information, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

Correction Department halts on-site events

The Department of Correction said Thursday it has suspended all on-site programming in its facilities as a precaution. It previously restricted older visitors and non-essential personnel.

The Bureau of Healthcare, Substance Abuse and Mental Health is also temporarily delaying routine dental, medical and behavioral health visits that require face-to-face interaction with providers, although urgent services, including inmate sick visits, continue.

“As we near a critical time of COVID-19 transmission in our State, the DOC is suspending all in-person programming for two weeks to reduce the potential for the virus to enter our facilities and the threat of widespread contamination,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement.

“We are taking this step for two reasons; first, to further reduce the number of people coming into our facilities, and second, to limit as much as possible the movement of groups of people within our facilities. I appreciate the cooperation of our officers, staff, program providers, and inmates who understand that these measures are being taken to protect them.”

Inmates can still go outside within their confined areas and have regular access to phones, the agency said.

Carney calls for residents to pitch in

Gov. Carney has urged Delawareans to do what they can to help fight the virus, and he announced Thursday the state has launched an online tool at de.gov/coronavirus to connect people offering materials and supplies with those in need of assistance.

“Delawareans across our state have stepped up during this challenging time to support their neighbors, and support Delaware’s response to COVID-19,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “We hope this new effort will encourage more Delaware citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations to get involved.

“Our goal is to get emergency supplies and materials where they are most needed — on the front lines supporting our health care workers, our long-term care facilities, and other first responders. We’ll get through this — but it takes all of us.”

Critical needs include hand sanitizer, wipes, nitrile gloves, Tyvek suits, N95 masks, face shields, eye protection and impermeable gowns.

DNREC closing its bathrooms

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control public restrooms will close at the end of the day today. Bathrooms, ranging from portable toilets to bathhouses, join the list of facilities already closed in state parks and nature areas, including campsites, cabins and playgrounds.

Also closed are basketball courts, guided tours, pavilions and rock climbing walls,

Additionally, beaches are closed except for exercising and surf fishing (with restrictions). Unacceptable activities include surfing, fishing not from a vehicle and playing sports, DNREC said. Surf fishing is limited to those with a current surf fishing permit as long as only two people accompany the vehicle, both people are actively fishing at all times and vehicles on the beach remain at least 60 feet apart of one another.

“We made the decision to close restrooms, which have multiple public touch points,” Secretary Shawn Garvin said in a statement. “Our staff has worked tirelessly to maintain the cleanliness of our restroom facilities, but hand sanitizer and soap has been stolen. It has become more difficult to maintain not only the cleanliness, but the social distancing in the facilities. It is no longer safe for our staff or the public to continue this service.”

Parks and nature areas themselves remain open, although all visitors must abide by social distancing policies.

Approved outdoor recreation includes cycling, walking dogs, hunting and jogging.

DNREC Natural Resources Police officers are conducting patrols of state beaches, parks and wildlife areas on foot and with marked patrol vehicles, the agency said. Anyone concerned about a person or group in any state park or wildlife area may contact DNREC’s Natural Resources Police by calling 739-4580 or using Tip411, DNREC’s smartphone app.

Christiana expanding hours for some essential personnel

ChristianaCare said Thursday it has expanded hours at its Provider Referral Centers in Newark and Wilmington to offer COVID-19 testing for health care workers and first responders who have a doctor’s order.

The Provider Referral Center at the Healthcare Center at Christiana, at 200 Hygeia Drive in Newark, is open to health care workers, including private providers, health care workers from other hospitals and employees of the Blood Bank of Delmarva. It operates from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to noon Sunday.

The Provider Referral Center at Roxana Cannon Arsht Surgicenter at ChristianaCare’s Wilmington campus at 625 W. 12th St. is open to all first responders, such as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters and rescuers, as well as sanitation workers. It operates from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Health care workers and first responders do not need an appointment during these special hours must bring in a paper or electronic copy of their test order, their ID and their insurance card. Electronic orders can be emailed to LabOutreach1@christianacare.org.

Only health care workers and first responders who have been referred by their doctor and are in possession of a testing order will be seen.


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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