Delaware ramps up COVID testing

The state is using three trailers from Curative Inc. for walk-up COVID-19 testing events which helped set a record for most tests done in a month in October. (Submitted photo/Delaware Emergency Management Agency)

WILMINGTON — After setting a new mark for the most COVID-19 tests done in a single month during October, Delaware has picked up right where it left off in November.

Through the first week of November, using data from Nov. 1-6, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency reported 23,360 COVID-19 tests administered. For comparison purposes, this number is similar to the total amount of tests done in April, which was around 26,000, according to DEMA.

This comes after the state administered 131,597 COVID-19 tests in October, up from 86,044 in September.

“We pushed hard in October,” said DEMA Director A.J. Schall. “October is the new high-water mark. It really blew our last number out of the water.”

Delaware set another record Monday of this week with more than 5,200 COVID-19 tests done — a new daily high. That number is not included in the total of 23,360 for the first week of the month.

Gov. John Carney said the state is on pace for another month with more than 100,000 tests processed — well over the state’s goal of 80,000 per month.

“I didn’t think we could get it,” Gov. Carney said. “I always thought it would be a stretch goal, but you set the record (in October), and you’re on pace to go over 100,000 again this month, with significant testing in communities, particularly vulnerable communities, which is so critically important.”

Delaware’s testing program has been boosted by its many options and strong turnouts at events run in conjunction with school districts, Mr. Schall said.

The state now has 22 permanent testing sites, which include Walgreens, state service centers and public health clinics. There are also typically double-digit pop-up drive-thru or walk-up sites each week. This week, Mr. Schall said Delaware will have 26 of those, mostly run through a partnership with Curative Inc. They are either drive-thru events or run out of one of the state’s three mobile trailers.

Since late August the state has worked with 60 schools for on-site testing events. The school districts have helped spread the word about the testing events, Mr. Schall said, via email blasts and text messaging to parents and students.

The state has since entered into a contract with Mako Medical to work directly with school districts for testing options.

“We know we have ample community testing but we also want to make sure we’re doing something to be flexible with the school districts as well,” Mr. Schall said. “We know this will be a complimentary process to our community testing and our at-home testing that we’ve been doing. That has been going very well.”

The turnaround time for test results has continued to improve as well.

Two weeks after Mr. Schall said he hoped the average time for results from Curative Inc. could improve from 30.5 hours to under 24 hours, the average time for results is now 21.5. For testing results done at Walgreens, the average time for results in less than 72 hours.

The state’s home testing option, done through a partnership with Vault, has an average time of 17 hours for results once they are received by the lab.

Mr. Schall said the state has given out more than 25,000 unique URLs for at-home testing kits. Those interested in an at-home test can register at de.gov/hometest. To receive an at-home test, the participant must be a Delaware resident and have an email address.

“This is a great feature that we could be using going into the holiday season,” Mr. Schall said. “Especially if people are looking to travel or if students are coming home from school some place out of the state or out of the region.”

For a full statewide list of COVID-19 testing sites, visit 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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