Storm closes COVID-19 testing sites; state removed from quarantine lists

WILMINGTON — Several COVID-19 testing sites throughout Delaware were closed Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Isaias.

The storm followed last week’s heat wave, which Gov. John Carney said did affect attendance at some testing sites. Despite the recent weather, Gov. Carney said he is still pleased with the amount of participation in COVID-19 testing.

“They did have some lower number of folks who turned out to the testing sites on the days that were way up in 90-degree temperatures,” Gov. Carney said during his weekly COVID-19 press briefing on Tuesday. “But overall, our testing numbers are quite high.”

Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Chief Physician Rick Pescatore encouraged anyone who preregistered for a canceled COVID-19 testing event to still sign up for one at a later time.

“DEMA (Delaware Emergency Management Agency) has been incredibly responsive in getting testing available when increased sites are needed,” Dr. Pescatore said. “If your testing site gets canceled due to the weather, seek out another one the next day.”

Those looking for a list of testing sites can visit de.gov/gettested.

All three pilot sites (Dover, Bridgeville, Middletown) of the DPH’s partnership with Walgreens for COVID-19 testing were canceled on Tuesday due to the tropical storm.

“We do manipulate capability, when we talk about any site, whether it be curative, Walgreens, one of the limiting factors is always lab processing capability,” Dr. Pescatore said. “But if there’s a day that we don’t do testing, it increases our ability to sort of meter out processing over the subsequent days.”

Also as of Tuesday, Delaware was once again been removed from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s 14-day quarantine lists.

Delaware was added to the state’s lists two weeks ago on July 21. It was the second time Delaware appeared on the lists and now the second time it has been removed.

Gov. Carney said he expects Delaware to keep jumping back and forth between on and off, based on the amount of testing the state is doing and the other states’ benchmarks.

Delaware was removed because its daily positive cases dropped below an average of 97 cases per day.

Gov. Carney also pointed out Delaware’s percentage of positive tests rate is at 4.7% for the seven-day rolling average — well below the 10% benchmark other states use and also below the 5% mark which is recommended by the World Health Organization.

“We’re on again, off again, on again, off again,” Gov. Carney said. “It’s something that as I’ve said before, doesn’t make a lot of sense. To me, we ought to be using both percent positive as well as day-to-day new positive cases. It does not create an incentive to do fewer tests. We continue to test and to test more aggressively than ever.”

The DPH announced 71 new positive cases of COVID-19 in its daily report on Tuesday. Current COVID-19 related hospitalizations rose by two to 42, with 11 considered critical.

Delaware has now seen a total of 15,137 positive COVID-19 cases while the total number of COVID-19 related deaths increased by two and is now at 587.

Both new deaths were individuals from New Castle County, according to the DPH and they ranged in age from 68 to 79. Both individuals had underlying health conditions, the DPH said, and neither was a resident of a long-term care facility.

The DPH also announced 36 more recoveries from the virus as that number increased to 8,303. An additional 1,567 people tested negative, bringing that total to 174,171.

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


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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