Killens water park closed due to coronavirus case

FELTON — A staff member at the Killens Pond State Park water park has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the water park will be closed until at least July 24, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced Friday.

Officials say the staff member is asymptomatic but was tested based on close contact with someone outside the water park who had tested positive. The positive staff member received results Thursday and has begun a required quarantine.

Following the advice of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) after an initial case investigation and contact tracing, 11 other water park staff members who were determined to have been in close contact are being tested and have also begun a 14-day quarantine from their last exposure to the positive staff member.

The DPH has advised DNREC that visitors to the water park are considered at low risk for contracting COVID-19 because they likely did not meet the threshold for close contact with the positive staff member, which is presence within 6 feet of an individual for 10 to 15 minutes or more. However, any water park visitors who wish to be tested as a precaution can utilize any of the free testing opportunities being offered by the state, which are found at https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing-events/.

Case update

The DPH also announced 116 new positive COVID-19 cases throughout the state in its daily update on Friday. That is the highest number reported since there was 124 new cases on July 9.

There was also an additional 107 positive cases added, attached to previous days, because of a delay in reporting by labs, the DPH said. The combined 223 cases upped Delaware’s total positive cases of COVID-19 to 13,337.

Despite the increase in cases, the percentage of persons who test positive dropped for the second-straight day to 3.3%. The DPH also announced no new COVID-1-related deaths for the second day in a row as total deaths remained at 521.

Hospitalizations rose by five compared to the day prior with 55 Delawareans currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 — seven of those are considered critical according to the DPH.

The total number of recoveries in the state is now at 7,317 and Delaware has recorded 135,273 negative tests.

All numbers via the DPH are as of Thursday at 6 p.m.

Water park opened last week

The Killens water park opened for the season Saturday, July 11. The water park had been scheduled to be open this weekend, Monday and Tuesday, and was already scheduled to be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. DNREC will be notifying those who had already made water park reservations for the next several days directly, and had initially announced Friday’s closure on social media Thursday evening. Anyone who had purchased an advanced water park entrance ticket for the closed days will be given a full refund, no additional action is needed.

The water park will undergo full cleaning and sanitizing during the closure. DNREC will announce next week whether the water park will reopen on July 24 or remain closed.

DNREC says the water park’s practices since opening have included daily temperature and symptoms checks for all staff, a limit of 30% visitor capacity, online-only reservations in two four-hour blocks each day, a 30-minute midday cleaning break, required use of masks in most areas, social distancing and frequent cleaning of common areas.

“We took many precautions in the interest of health and safety in operating the water park and we will take the safe route in closing it down for the next few days,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said Friday.

“We have been advised there was low risk to the public based on the operations and interactions, but everyone should always be on the watch for coronavirus symptoms, and we will be watching and testing for any sign of spread among staff before making a firm decision about reopening. We regret that the water park will not be available during the upcoming hot days, but the health of our visitors and staff must come first.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with coronavirus case numbers.


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

Have a question, tip, or resources about the coronavirus pandemic? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll do what we can to provide answers.