Governor declares public health emergency; assessment of health care resources ordered

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Delaware Gov. John Carney on Monday declared a Public Health Emergency and released a an updated order to assist with Delaware’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) issued a companion order focused on strengthening Delaware’s health care workforce in response to COVID-19.

The declaration comes as Delaware begins to see a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

The declaration and order call for an assessment of medical supplies, such as ventilators and the capacity of the state’s health care system in dealing with a spike in cases.

The governors of Maryland and New Jersey have authorized the opening of previously closed hospitals in preparation for the possibility of a spike in cases of overwhelming facilities.

An area of special concern comes in intensive care units, which often run near capacity in normal times.

Both orders went into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Monday.

“We’re acting with urgency to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm our hospital system,” said  Carney. “These new orders will help make sure Delaware has the supplies and the health care professionals necessary to respond to COVID-19. I want to thank all of Delaware’s health care workers who are on the front lines of our response. We owe you all a debt of gratitude.

“We need everyone’s help. Delawareans should follow basic hygiene practices and stay home unless it’s essential to go out for work, or for the health and well-being of your family. We’ll get through this, but we all need to pitch in and take this threat seriously.”

Under the order from DEMA and DPH:

  • Nurses, doctors, mental health care providers, pharmacists and other health care professionals who have active licenses or certificates of good standing in any U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide in-person health care services in Delaware throughout the emergency, as well as telemedicine services.
  • Delaware health care professionals whose licenses expired in the last five years are authorized to provide health care services in Delaware, assuming their licenses were in good standing for the five-year period.

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.  

Read Governor Carney’s Public Health Emergency Declaration here.

Read the companion order from DEMA and DPH here.

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