State at 783 coronavirus cases, with one new death

DOVER — Delaware saw 110 more coronavirus cases Monday, including a 15th death. The official count now stands at 783 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases here.

Per the Division of Public Health, 140 Delawareans are hospitalized, with 25 critically ill. Seventy-one people have recovered, meaning they have gone without symptoms for at least a week, the agency said.

The most recent death involves an 84-year-old man from Kent County who had underlying health conditions.

Also on Monday, Gov. John Carney expanded restrictions placed on Delaware as part of his state of emergency declaration, prohibiting short-term rental units and closing pawn shops and electronics retailers. Some individuals, such as essential workers, victims of domestic violence and those possessing public housing vouchers, are exempt from the rental ban.

The latest order, which carries the force of law, will take effect at 8 p.m. today.

Of the 783 COVID-19 cases, a total that includes both currently sick and those recovered, there are 496 involving New Castle County residents, 159 involving Sussex County residents and 128 involving Kent County residents. Compared to Sunday, that’s an increase of 60 for New Castle, eight for Sussex and 42 for Kent.

The first laboratory-confirmed case was announced March 11, with the first official death coming 15 days later. There were 264 cases one week ago. The count was less than 100 as recently as March 24, with 87.

The largest day-to-day jump so far is 143 from Friday to Saturday.

There have been three patients no older than 4, 12 patients ages 5-17, 369 patients ages 18-49, 225 patients ages 50-64 and 174 patients at least 65 years of age.

The 15 who have died ranged in age from 66 to 94 years old.

DPH said it cannot release or confirm further information about the patients.

As of Monday, there had been 6,851 negative test results, the agency said, although it cautions the figure is preliminary and should not be used as a substitute for the number of people who have been tested.

Amidst frustrations with backlogs causing waits of more than a week for test results, Beebe Healthcare said in a video town hall Monday evening it hopes to start testing on its campus next week.

“That will give us a much more rapid turnaround,” Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Schaffner said.

Beebe currently sends samples to commercial labs for testing.

Delaware has been in a state of emergency since March 12, and Gov. Carney two weeks ago closed non-essential businesses and instructed residents to stay home except for necessary activities like visiting a doctor, exercising or buying groceries. Businesses that are allowed to remain open must implement strict social distancing policies.

Under an order from the governor last week, out-of-state residents also must quarantine themselves alone for two weeks when they enter Delaware, although there are exceptions for people just passing through, those traveling to care for family and individuals needing medical care.

While the elderly and those with serious health conditions, especially heart disease, lung issues, diabetes, severe obesity or a compromised immune system are most at risk, officials say everyone needs to avoid contact with others.

Anyone who believes he or she may be sick should not go out except for medical appointments and should contact a 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.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. People who are sick with any of those and need essential supplies should ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy instead. They also are urged not to go to work.

Most people recover from COVID-19 with rest and hydration, although illness can be severe in a segment of the population.

Statewide testing at standing health facility sites is under way for patients with a doctor’s recommendation. Those without a primary care provider can contact DPH at 1-888-408-1899, but individuals should not just walk in. Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first.

DPH this week launched a new collaboration with the United Way of Delaware to triage incoming calls related to COVID-19. Anyone with a question about the virus should call Delaware 2-1-1 at 1-800-560-3372 (711 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing) or text your ZIP code to 898-211.

In addition, the division requests any Delaware health care, long-term care, residential, or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns email DPH_PAC@delaware.gov or call 1-866-408-1899 and press ext. 2.

Corrections facilities cases

The Department of Correction announced two correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19. The first confirmed case in a correctional officer came Friday, with a second following the next day.

Additionally, three contracted health care workers have tested positive over the past five days.

One of the two most recent cases comes in a correctional officer who works at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and was last at work Thursday. The other involves an officer assigned to the Court and Transportation Unit who most recently worked at a department location while assigned to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on Wednesday.

Officers who worked in close contact have been notified.

“All officers, other employees and inmates in facilities where there have been COVID-19 cases among officers and contract healthcare workers are being carefully monitored for any symptoms, and DOC will immediately isolate, assess and treat any individual who demonstrates any sign of illness,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement. “We continue our aggressive prevention, screening and cleaning measures to guard against the spread of this disease.”

No inmate within Delaware’s correctional system has tested positive so far, the department said.

New Castle park amenities

New Castle County has closed all tennis courts, fenced-in dog parks and skate parks in New Castle County parks. County officials will also be locking restrooms and removing port-o-johns in parks.

Anyone who sees gatherings at any county park is urged to call the New Castle County Police Department’s non-emergency number at 573-2800.”

For more general information, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov.


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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