Carney announces delay in Phase 3 of Delaware’s economic reopening

Gov. John Carney announced a delay Thursday in moving to Phase 3 of Delaware’s economic reopening after the statewide shutdown in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know many Delawareans expected us to move into Phase 3 of economic reopening on Monday, June 29 – and that had been my hope, as well,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “But we are delaying that decision so we can get a better handle on what’s going on in Delaware and around the country. We intend to make a decision early next week regarding the start of Phase 3.”

The Delaware Department of Public Health announced 91 additional positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday — more than double the new cases of 42 announced on Wednesday. The DPH also announced two more deaths due to COVID-19, upping the total number in Delaware to 507.

All numbers from DPH are as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.

There are currently 93 COVID-19 patients in Delaware hospitals, 18 of whom are considered critically ill.

Delaware’s percentage of persons who test positive seven-day rolling average has been increasing and is now up to 4.3%. Although the percent tested positive in the release on Thursday dropped to 3.4% compared to 4.8% from the day prior despite a larger amount of positive cases.

“Too many Delawareans and visitors are not following basic public health precautions,” Gov. Carney said. “We’ve heard and seen concerns especially in our beach communities, in restaurants, in gyms, and at sporting events. Now’s not the time to let up. You’re required to wear a mask in public settings. Keep your distance from those outside your household. These are common sense steps that, frankly, are not that difficult to follow. And they’re a small price to pay for keeping our friends and relatives out of the hospital.”

Gov. Carney added results from a COVID-19 testing event in Rehoboth Beach, held on Thursday, will be key in determining the reopening plan moving forward. The state has been concerned with a possible increase in cases at Delaware’s beaches due to larger crowds since reopening.

“Results of that event should help us determine infection rates in our coastal communities,” Gov. Carney said. “We’ll be monitoring this data – as well as compliance with public health requirements like mask-wearing and social distancing – as we make a determination about when Phase 3 should begin.”

“In Delaware, we are beating this disease,” Carney added. “We have flattened the curve. But that’s because Delawareans stayed home and made significant sacrifices to keep others safe. Make no mistake: COVID-19 has not gone away. We’ve seen what has happened in other states when folks let their guard down. Let’s not be one of those states.”