Leaders seek help for minorities as Delaware deaths reach 33

SMYRNA — Delaware’s coronavirus-related deaths rose to 33 Saturday as the state’s U.S. Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, both Democrats, joined Senate colleagues in calling on the Trump Administration to do more for minority communities.

In its daily update, the Division of Public Health said the latest fatality was a 96-year-old female in a long-term care facility from Sussex County who had underlying health conditions. Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 57 to 96 years old, DPH said.

The state announced 153 additional positive cases of COVID-19 Saturday — 56 in New Castle County, 25 in Kent County and 68 in Sussex County and four from locations unknown. There were nine new hospitalizations, seven more critically ill patients and 14 more people persons who have recovered from the virus.

Since March 11, there have been 1,479 laboratory-confirmed cases overall, including 647 males, 824 females and eight unknown. The ages range from 1 to 97, DPH said.

To protect personal health information, DPH said it will not confirm specific information about any individual case, even if other persons or entities disclose it independently.

In a news release, DPH said it now reports deaths of laboratory-confirmed individuals and “probable” deaths where the individual had clinically consistent symptoms and was exposed to a confirmed case, but was never tested.

Preliminary data indicates there have been 9,624 negative tests for COVID-19, with 191 Delawareans recovered.

Delaware now considers patients fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms, Saturday’s update said. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self-isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine, according to the news release.

DPH said epidemiologists are transitioning to a new data reporting system. During the transition period, not all fields (county of residence, sex) have complete information.

Senators seeking help for minorities

Sens. Carper and Coons joined Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and 23 Senate colleagues in a letter calling on the Trump administration to do more to help minority communities that are seeing a disproportionately higher impact from the coronavirus pandemic, according to an announcement Saturday.

The senators underscored the critical need for demographic and racial data, and that any COVID-19 vaccine or drug treatment trials include women, racial minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community, according to a news release.

“These disparities are exacerbated by higher rates of chronic disease among many minority populations, inequitable access to health care, reduced rates of economic opportunity, lack of educational opportunities, inadequate access to grocery stores, language barriers and the inability to properly social distance due to working in jobs deemed essential,” the senators wrote to Vice President Pence, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

“[Any] clinical trials for vaccines and therapeutic treatments of COVID-19 must include participants that racially, socioeconomically, and otherwise demographically represent the United States,” the senators added. “’[Inequitable] research can lead to dangerous outcomes for those who are not represented in clinical trials. Drugs including chemotherapeutics, antiretrovirals, antidepressants, and cardiovascular medications have been withdrawn from market due to differences in drug metabolism and toxicity across race and sex.”

Health, child care help sought

On Saturday, Gov. John Carney expanded his community call-to-action, urging all Delaware citizens with health care and child care experience to offer their expertise in Delaware’s fight against COVID-19.

The state has launched an online application portal at de.gov/coronavirus to recruit Delawareans with health care and early education credentials to fill critical positions in its health care and emergency child care workforce, according to a public announcement.
Anyone offering to work in health care, child care, or early education can register at survey123.arcgis.com.

“We need all Delaware citizens, businesses, and nonprofits to support Delaware’s response to COVID-19,” Gov. Carney said in a news release.

“If you have experience in health care or child care especially, please sign up at de.gov/coronavirus and help us fill critical positions.

“Thank you to all of Delaware’s health care workers who have been on the front lines, risking their own health and safety to protect others. Thank you to Delaware’s child care workers, our grocery store employees, teachers, and all Delawareans who are stepping up for their neighbors during this difficult time.

“We’ll get through this, but it will take all of us.”

The news release said that anyone looking to Delaware’s response — specifically those with expertise in areas of medicine, public health, and/or behavioral health — can apply through the online workforce portal. Applications will be reviewed by the Delaware Division of Public Health and shared with institutions in need across Delaware.

Anyone who is licensed or certified to work in child care or education is also encouraged to submit their information for potential temporary employment by emergency child care sites. The community call-to-action also reminds Delawareans that donations of cleaning supplies and other items for emergency child care sites are urgently needed, according to the announcement.

Citizens, businesses or nonprofits with materials and supplies to support Delaware’s response can respond online at survey123.arcgis.com.

Critical needs include:

• Hand sanitizer

• Sanitizing Wipes

• Nitrile Gloves

• Tyvek Suits

• N95 Masks

• Face shields and/or eye protection

• Impermeable gowns.

Getting information

DPH said COVID-19 continues to actively circulate through communities.

Officials continue to urge residents: “If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, or digestive symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite.”

“If you are sick and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmay to get what you need.”

People who think they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, should distance yourself from others, particularly vulnerable populations.

“Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions — including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment — might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” officials said.

Statewide testing at standing health facility testing sites require a physician’s order or prescription to be tested, DPH said. Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first, the release said. These are not walk-in testing sites.

Those without a primary care provider can call the DPH Call Center Line at 1-866-408-1899 (closed for Easter Sunday).

In New Castle County, individuals can call ChristianaCare at 1-302-733-1000 and Sussex County residents who do not have a provider can call the Beebe COVID-19 Screening Line at 645-3200. Individuals awaiting test results, should wait to hear back from their medical provider. The DPH Call Center does not have test results.

Those with questions about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 211; or 711 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or text your ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19, related to medical or social service needs, should call 211; or 711 for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends.

Questions may also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, 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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