DOC: Contract worker fully recovered after positive COVID-19 test

DOVER – A contract healthcare professional assigned to New Castle County Community Corrections has tested positive for COVID-19, the Delaware Department of Correction announced this morning.

DOC spokesman Paul Shavack said the person has self-isolated for the past 18 days and is fully recovered.

New Castle County Community Corrections consists of the Plummer Community Corrections Center in Wilmington and the Hazel D. Plant Women’s Treatment Center in New Castle.

The healthcare worker, who was last in NCCC facilities on March 16, self-isolated at home the next day after experiencing flu-like symptoms, the DOC said. As symptoms worsened the individual sought medical attention on March 20, at which time a COVID-19 test was administered. The individual continued to isolate at home.

The positive COVID-19 test result was received on Thursday, the DOC said.
No other DOC staff members, contract workers or inmates at NCCC facilities are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and no NCCC inmates are currently being isolated with symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.

Because the last contact by this individual with NCCC occurred beyond the 15-day incubation period of COVID-19, healthcare professionals have advised DOC that no additional isolation or quarantine measures are needed at this time.

This is the first COVID-19 diagnosis for any DOC staff member, contractor or inmate within Delaware’s correctional system.

No additional information will be provided about the identity of the healthcare worker for privacy protection, the DOC said.

“This contract healthcare professional made the exact right decision to stay home from work 18 days ago when symptoms of the virus first developed, and to seek medical attention and testing when those symptoms worsened,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said.

“Because of those smart decisions, there is no threat from this COVID-19 diagnosis to DOC officers, staff or offenders. We will continue to take every precaution to protect all of our people as this virus spreads in the community.”

Upon receiving the confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test, the DOC implemented immediate steps to further protect the employees and inmates at NCCC facilities. These steps included identifying inmates and staff who had come into contact with the healthcare worker, and as well as continued deep cleaning of the facilities, according to the DOC.

All persons entering any DOC facility are screened for COVID-19, including a series of questions and a forehead temperature check with a digital thermometer. Staff who present with symptoms are sent home to self-quarantine and contact their health care provider in accordance with the established Delaware Department of Correction COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure, the DOC said.

Newly-arriving inmates to DOC facilities are isolated from the rest of the inmate population for 14-days while being monitored for symptoms of respiratory infection.

“The DOC maintains a robust infectious disease action plan, starting with prevention, screening protocols, and guidelines for staff and offenders that is helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in our facilities,” said DOC Medical Director, Dr. Awe Maduka-Ezeh. “We all need to stay alert and vigilant in our efforts to contain this illness.”

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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