State to begin virus contact tracing operations Monday

SMYRNA — As positive cases of coronavirus moved back to double-digits Sunday, and hospitalizations continue to decline, the Division of Public Health announced that contact tracing operations will begin today.

As today brings Phase One of recovery for the state, with looser restrictions for businesses, DPH announced that Community Health employees will begin to conduct contact tracing and case investigations in the community.

DPH field teams of two will personally visit individuals for whom DPH has no phone number to advise them they have a positive test result for COVID-19, or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The DPH employees will have state employee identification and most likely be wearing a shirt identifying them as a DPH employee. They also will be wearing a mask, gloves, and may even wear a face shield.

They will request permission to ask the person a series of questions, but will not request to enter a home unless they are unable to maintain the individual’s privacy outside the home.

Contact tracers do not ask for bank account or Social Security information. 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 and help stop the spread of the disease.

DPH does not release any personal information to the public. For additional information about contact tracing, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/contact-tracing/

Meanwhile, DPH announced 76 additional positive cases — a decline from the spike in positive cases that were announced Saturday. Five more fatalities related to COVID-19 were reported.

In total, the state has recorded 9,498 positive cases, with 366 virus-related deaths.

Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 21 to 103 years old. Of those who have died, 192 were females and 174 were males. A total of 170 individuals were from New Castle County, 63 were from Kent County, and 133 were from Sussex County.

The most recent announced deaths ranged in age from 65 to 93. Two of the individuals were female and three were male. Four were New Castle County residents, and one was a Sussex County resident. All five individuals had underlying health conditions and were residents of long-term care facilities.

In New Castle County, there are 3,758 positive cases, 1,436 in Kent County, 4,253 in Sussex County and 51 of an unknown county.
Currently there are 160 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, with 30 critically ill. Those numbers show a decline from Saturday, where hospitalizations were at 174, and 32 were critically ill.

There have been 5,266 Delawareans that have recovered.


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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