In response to the rising number of cases and future predictions, Gov. John Carney declared a Public Health Emergency that among other things assesses health care resources that would be needed should the outbreak worsen.
Out of state health care professionals and those who let their licenses lapse in recent years are now allowed to assist, providing their license did not lapse due to conduct or related issues.
“We know this is a startling increase for Delawareans to see,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. ” It is an indication of spread that we expected to see, but it is also reflective of the state’s increased testing capacity which is leading to more results – both positive and negative. It also shows us why we need Delawareans to stay home and stay safe. We all must end unnecessary contact with others, practice stringent social distancing, go out for essential groceries or prescriptions only as needed, and go to work only if we are in an essential business. We will get through this, but we must do it together.”
Two weeks ago, Delaware had no reported cases.
If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, make sure to distance yourself from others, especially vulnerable populations. This includes people 60 years of age and older; people with serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease; or those who are immunocompromised.
Two new cases were reported Sunday morning. Neighboring Cecil County, MD also reported its first case on Sunday.
Community spread is likely to lead to a sharp upward curve in the number of cases with the term “flatten the curve” widely used in advisories and orders.
Health care professionals strongly advise residents to use social distancing and staying home as a way to limit any spike in cases. People with second homes at the beach are also encouraged to stay at their main home.
People testing positive can infect two to three more individuals
“The presence of community spread shows that we all must take the danger associated with this virus seriously,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health. “For every person infected with COVID-19, they typically infect two to three additional people. That’s why the steps that Governor Carney has taken to close schools, restaurants and bars, recreational facilities and beaches is so important. We need to take these steps to prevent widespread outbreaks and slow the spread of the virus.”
Governor John Carney, along with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), announced on Friday, a coordinated statewide plan to ensure individuals with symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have access to testing in Delaware. This plan will be rolled out during the week of Monday, March 23.
The statewide plan aims to streamline the testing process, reduce the burden on the health system, ensure the safety of patients and health care workers, and better meet the COVID-19 testing needs of Delawareans, the release stated.
Many individuals infected with COVID-19 recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids and taking pain and fever-reducing medications. However, illness can be severe and require hospitalization in some cases.
Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for individuals who are hearing-impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.