Delaware taking more steps toward reopening in next two weeks

DOVER — Delaware will be moving to the next phase of its reopening midway through the month. Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday many businesses can expand to 60 percent capacity come June 15.

The state allowed businesses to open with strict limits, including 30 percent maximum capacity, beginning Monday.

Gov. Carney also said personal care services like hair salons, massage parlors and tattoo shops can open at 30 percent occupancy this upcoming Monday. They will still be limited to 30 percent occupancy even after the limit is raised to 60 percent one week later.

Face coverings and social distancing remain mandatory.

With the prevalence of the virus on the downswing, more people are returning to a semblance of normalcy in Delaware. Officials have said repeatedly, however, the threat is far from over, emphasizing again Tuesday the importance of wearing a face mask in public and avoiding activities that could spread coronavirus, such as singing near others.

In particular, the protests that have gripped the nation over the past week could lead to a major resurgence, Gov. Carney noted.

The state has expanded its testing capabilities and started contact tracing to identify people who may have unknowingly caught the virus from another Delawarean who tested positive.

“The new normal is this kind of testing,” Gov. Carney said.

Free community testing events using saliva-based tests are planned for today in Dover and Thursday in Bridgeville, DPH said.

The first will take place today from 1 to 5 p.m. at Booker T. Washington Elementary School at 901 Forest St. in Dover. The next event will take place at the Bridgeville Fire Company at 311 Market St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday.

People are encouraged to register at delaware.curativeinc.com, although limited on-site registration will be available. Participants should not eat or drink anything or brush their teeth for 20 minutes prior to taking the test.

For more information, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing.

The state also said the Division of Public Health is dispatching employees to visit individuals the agency has been unable to contact by phone to inform them they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive.

The employees will have state identification and will be wearing masks and gloves. They will request permission to ask the person a series of questions but will not seek to enter the home unless they are unable to maintain the individual’s privacy outside the home.

An individual’s information will not be shared with any person or organization and will only be used to help DPH monitor a person’s health status through additional phone calls to that person to help stop the spread of the disease. Residents should also be aware legitimate contact tracers will never ask for bank account or Social Security information.

For additional information about contact tracing, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/contact-tracing.

Delaware announced 80 more instances of COVID-19 and five related deaths Tuesday, bringing the totals to 9,685 confirmed cases and 373 deaths.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, 157 people were hospitalized, with 28 critically ill, the Division of Public Health said. That’s the smallest number of hospitalizations in almost three months.

DPH said 5,442 people have recovered, meaning they’ve gone a week without symptoms.

The state announced its first case March 11. There were 9,085 cases, 201 hospitalizations and 335 deaths one week ago and 5,974 cases, 284 hospitalizations and 187 deaths as of May 5, four weeks before the latest data.

So far, about 1.1 percent of Delawareans have tested positive for the virus. DPH said there have been 64,062 tests, although that figure is preliminary and does not include an unknown number of results that are pending.

The most recently announced deaths involve four women and one man ranging in age from 65 to 80. Three were Kent County residents, and two were Sussex County residents. All five had underlying health conditions.

Two of the individuals were residents of long-term care facilities, a statistic that describes about two-thirds of all known COVID deaths here.


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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