State working with poultry industry, others to combat spread of COVID-19 in Sussex

DOVER — The state announced Wednesday it is partnering with the poultry industry, health care providers and local government bodies to fight the spread of coronavirus in Sussex County.

“We’ve seen a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in communities across Sussex County,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement. “This new testing program is designed to save lives. Over the next week, we will be partnering with local hospitals, the Delaware Division of Public Health, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture, and others to offer free, rapid coronavirus testing at community testing sites in Sussex County. As the largest employers in Sussex County, we are partnering with the poultry industry to ensure that workers and their families get all of the information they need to be safe and healthy.”

Officials said the community testing plan consists of several key steps. They plan to use rapid testing kits, reach out to the community through trusted organizations and offer guidance to people who test positive or have symptoms.

Care kits with hand sanitizer, thermometers, bandanas and educational materials written in English, Spanish and Hispanic are being prepared to help.

Among the entities the state will be working with are Allen Harim, Mountaire Farms and Perdue Farms.

“The efforts of all these partners to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our rural communities here in Sussex County is a testament to working towards a common goal to reopen our state. From the farmers to the workers in the plants to employees in agribusinesses, our workforce is the backbone that makes agriculture so successful in Delaware,” Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said in a statement.

“We want to ensure that every employee gets the care they need, and to make sure if a staff member does have COVID-19 that we can stop it from spreading to others. We appreciate the efforts that the poultry companies are taking to protect their employees, including implementing physical barriers and social distancing protocols, daily health screenings, and now on-site testing.”

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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