DEMA Director Schall tests positive for COVID-19

SMYRNA – Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director AJ Schall has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation at home, according to an announcement on Saturday.

Mr. Schall said he remains in contact with the Governor’s office and DEMA leadership. He said he took a test Wednesday after experiencing minor, cold-like symptoms and a positive result was returned Friday.

Out of an abundance of caution, Gov. John Carney announced Saturday that he would cancel public events in the coming week “and will exercise caution in any interactions with others, as always.

“We will hold our regular COVID-19 press briefing virtually this coming Tuesday.”

The governor said he spent time around Mr. Schall last Tuesday, but had “not been identified as a close contact by the Division of Public Health, based on mask-wearing and social distancing precautions.”

Mr. Schall was described as a “core member of our COVID-19 response team” by the governor.

Gov. Carney added that “we’re all wishing AJ a speedy recovery.”

Mr. Schall said he and one of his sons had tested negative on Monday.

In Saturday’s announcement, Mr. Schall said his sons and mother are following guidance from the Division of Public Health. Spokesman Jeff Sands said no members of Mr. Schall’s immediate family had tested positive for COVID-19 that he knew of.

“I am fortunate to have minor symptoms so far and appreciate the well wishes,” Mr. Schall said in a statement.

“I am following all guidance from the Division of Public Health and encourage you to do the same. Wear a mask, physical distance, and get tested.”

According to Gov. Carney, “This only underscores the seriousness of this virus. It’s a real threat – especially for our most vulnerable friends, neighbors and loved ones.

“ Let’s all do our part to limit the spread this winter. Wear a mask. Think twice before gathering with friends or family outside your household. We’ll get through this.”

The DEMA announcement noted that all DPH COVID-19 guidance and statewide testing sites are listed online at de.gov/coronavirus.