Delaware reports 32 more coronavirus cases, including one more death

DOVER — Delaware announced 32 more coronavirus cases, including one death, on Monday. It now stands at 264 laboratory-confirmed cases and seven deaths, according to the Division of Public Health.

The most recent death involves a 92-year-old Sussex County woman who had underlying health conditions.

Twenty-two Delawareans have officially recovered from the coronavirus, DPH said, meaning they have gone at least seven days without symptoms.

Of the 264 cases, a count that includes people who have died or recovered, 156 are from New Castle County, 81 are from Sussex County and 27 are from Kent County.

They range in age from 1 to 95. Per DPH’s online case tool, 143 of the cases involve people at least 50 years of age.

Forty-six people are currently hospitalized, with 14 critically ill.

The source of exposure for many of the cases is unknown.

The state saw its first confirmed instance of COVID-19 on March 11. There were 64 cases on March 23.

The largest increase from one day to another so far is 49, from 165 on March 27 to 214 on March 28.

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.

Most people recover from COVID-19 with rest and hydration, although illness can be severe in a segment of the population. The elderly and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

Emergency child care

Gov. Carney on Monday signed an order that will designate some child care programs as emergency sites to assist essential personnel during the outbreak.

Beginning April 6 and continuing until the state of emergency ends, only centers and homes that certify they are offering care solely to children of personnel working for essential businesses will be permitted to operate. They must be designated as emergency sites by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.

The order also allows the agency to assist families in enrolling children in designated emergency child care centers if their current facility closes temporarily.

Rep. John Kowalko, a Newark Democrat whose wife runs a daycare, has repeatedly criticized the governor for not closing the facilities.

Interested providers must submit an emergency child care site application online by Friday. Starting April 6, all other child care facilities must close until the end of the state of emergency.

“We are extremely grateful for the child care providers that are able to keep their doors open and make it possible for those providing essential services to serve Delawareans during this public health emergency,” department Secretary Josette Manning said in a statement.

“During this time, child care workers, like other essential personnel, are on the front lines adapting, adjusting and working to help Delaware get through this crisis. Our child care workers keep our children safe every single day, and now, they must do so under very difficult circumstances. We cannot thank them enough and we will continue to work with them during this time.

Ferris School case

Also Monday, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families said a worker at Ferris School in Wilmington has tested positive for coronavirus.

The agency said the employee has not come to work “for an extended period of time” but the building was cleaned regardless. Staff have been told to monitor themselves for symptoms and the area where the worker was stationed was immediately closed off to others in the building.

Ferris School is a Level V secure care facility for juveniles. All youth being kept there, as well as their families, have been notified on the test result.

No other staff member has reported any symptoms.

The agency has limited visitation, implemented screening and increased cleaning procedures over the past few weeks.

Correction screening

The Department of Correction said Monday it is implementing screening for every person entering one of its facilities and will hold all new inmates in a separate housing unit for 14 days. Additionally, the agency is now only allowing work release offenders to report to employers that use the same screening and cleaning procedures.

“The DOC currently does not have any known cases of COVID-19. Five inmates have been tested and all results are negative,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement.

“Under the leadership of DOC’s medical director and senior nurses, we are determined to stay a step ahead of this novel coronavirus by continuing to incorporate best practices for infectious disease control, just as DOC does every year to prevent widespread contamination of influenza in our facilities.”

The department has already restricted visitation and changed some programs and required visits to take place by phone.

SNAP funding

Another impact of the coronavirus comes as Delaware will be providing emergency food benefits to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants for March and April after passage of a federal funding measure.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services will provide the benefits to any household not already receiving the maximum monthly benefit. SNAP households that already receive the maximum will get nothing.

The exact amount varies depending on the household size.

The emergency benefits for March will be released Tuesday evening and will automatically load to recipients’ SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer cards for use the next day. Emergency benefits for April will be issued April 30 and available May 1.

Recipients will get their regular April benefits on the usual issuance date.

More than 120,000 Delawareans receive SNAP benefits. The average monthly benefit totals $233.

Individuals seeking to apply for SNAP benefits in Delaware may visit https://assist.dhss.delaware.gov/ or call 1-866-843-7212.

‘Open for business’

Meanwhile, David C. Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, issued a reminder Monday law enforcement agencies “are still open for business.”

People are urged to be on the lookout for others taking advantage of the coronavirus by price-gouging or a similar scheme and should note they do not need to provide personal or banking information over the phone or online to receive an economic stimulus payment.

Delawareans who encounter scams or suspicious behavior can contact the office at 573-6277.

Library books

And in case you were wondering, library books that are currently checked out are not due until June 1, as state libraries, including books drops, are closed.

For general questions about COVID-19 or exposure risk can 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.


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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