Updated: Another coronavirus case tied to UD community reported

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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced a seventh coronavirus (COVID-19), case. DPH had earlier announced two other cases.

So far all seven individuals are associated with the University of Delaware community. The latest case is still under investigation as to its cause.

The term presumptive cases is no longer used  in COVID-19 cases being used since the Centers for Disease Control is now accepting state and local lab results and not making final determinations.

The three most recent cases are a woman older than 50, a man older than 60 and the most recent confirmation, a woman under 30.

None are seriously ill and are self-isolating at home.

Epidemiologists from the Division of Public Health are working to identify any close contacts of the individuals who were possibly exposed. If other people are found to have possibly been exposed, state health officials will provide guidance to these individuals and monitor them closely for the development of symptoms. 

“Because of the nature of this disease, we know that we are going to continue to see an increased number of cases in Delaware. This announcement brings Delaware’s total positive cases to seven,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. “With the amount of test samples that health care systems and providers across the state are submitting to the Delaware Public Health Lab and to commercial labs, the numbers of patients being tested have increased significantly. We want to make sure that we are giving the most accurate information to the public, so going forward we will only be releasing the number of positive cases in Delaware.”

UD identified earlier coronavirus cases as graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher. Another is a faculty member. Those individuals had close contact at an off-campus social event in February with the faculty member who was the first to test positive..

On Saturday, neighboring Chester County, PA reported its cases- a man in his 30s with mild symptoms. A woman in her 50s was reported to have a case of coronavirus. on Friday. Another neighboring county, Delaware County  has a half-dozen of the more than 40 cases in the state. The largest cluster is the Philadelphia suburb of Montgomery County, which has 20 cases.

Students, faculty, and staff who have general questions about the University of Delaware’s response to COVID-19 should contact the University of Delaware’s Call Center at 302-831-1188 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

In response to the growing number of cases in the United States, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, freeing up $50 billion in federal funds to combat COVID-19.

On Thursday, Delaware Governor John Carney declared a state of emergency that went into effect on Friday. The Governor on Friday also directed all Delaware public schools to close March 16-27 to allow schools to prepare for the potential spread of coronavirus.

Testing for coronavirus disease is not recommended for individuals who do not have any symptoms of illness. For individuals who have symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), they should contact their primary care provider, who can collect specimens and send them to either the Delaware Public Health Lab or LabCorp for testing.

Medical providers should evaluate patients and rule out other causes of illness first before recommending testing for COVID-19. 

While testing for the disease at the Public Health Lab requires DPH approval, providers do not need DPH approval to submit test samples to LabCorp. With the addition of commercial lab testing now available, Delaware has enough capacity to accommodate its current testing needs. Providers can use flu kits to collect a nasal swab for testing. Commercial labs are required to report testing and results to DPH.

DPH advises older Delawareans and people with severe chronic health conditions to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging them to “avoid crowds as much as possible” to reduce their risk of contracting coronavirus disease.

The public can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for those with hearing impairments, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Or they can email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

Delaware is also experiencing a particularly serious flu season with 6,441 lab-confirmed cases and 11 deaths statewide. Flu shots are still recommended.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that the latest cases was tied to an off-campus event that is tied to previous coronavirus cases).

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