State looking at enforcement plans for businesses not following COVID-19 procedures

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Gov. John Carney today cautioned against a letdown in social distancing and use of facemasks. His remarks were made at a press briefing this afternoon.

Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said the Division of Public Health and the Divison of Small Business is working on an enforcement strategy following customer complaints.

Complaints center on the lack of facemasks and not following social distancing (people staying six feet apartment.Steps can include inspections, referrals to law enforcement or even shutdowns, Rattay said.

Carney said enforcement will not be heavy-handed and asked residents and businesses to think about their neighbors.

Carney said he sees some backsliding in youth sports and other gatherings.

The state is seeing some evidence of more people in the 18 to 34 age group are catching the virus. Parties and other indoor gatherings contributed to the higher number of cases in Arizona, Florida, and other states with outbreaks.

Some local officials in the above states have ordered the use of facemasks.

Rattay said no reports of positive cases have been reported in connection with recent protests. Rattay said. Rattay suspects that the use of facemasks and the fact that the protests took place outdoors contributed to the lack of cases.

On the plus side, the percentage of positive cases is staying around 4% despite an uptick in recent days.

An upturn in the number of hospitalizations was reported, but is not yet an area of concern, hospital officials told Carney.

The briefing comes as the state sees an uptick in the number of new cases as the percentage of the population tested nears 10 percent and a modest rise in the number of hospitalized patients.

Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl said that seven people in a group setting (beach house) and involved in Delaware beach week activities have tested positive. More positives are expected.

Rattay said those attending graduation parties, senior week especially those who shared a house at the beach should be tested. Members of the hospitality industry who may have come in contact with those involved in senior week are also advised to seek testing.

Carney again advised all Delawareans to get tested, especially those who have been to larger gatherings.

Rattay said a soft launch is planned for Friday for the state’s new contract tracing system that will be handled by an affiliate of the University of Chicago. The program has been handled by the National Guard and the Division of Health.

Delaware Emergency Management Director A.J. Schall says the state is seeing some testing sites with activity that is less than expected.

See related story.

Delaware adds 67 coronavirus deaths to official total after review of records

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