For the second time in just over a week, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is asking people in the Delaware beach area, particularly in Rehoboth and Dewey Beach, to get tested for COVID-19.
The recommendation comes after testing in Rehoboth Beach on Thursday identified approximately 100 persons as positive for the disease, and testing in Dewey on Friday identified another dozen persons as positive. DPH has begun making contact with the positive cases and their contacts and is providing guidance on how to safely self-isolate or self-quarantine. DPH is investigating potential additional cases in the beach area as well.
To provide easier access to those in the beach area who wish to get tested, a community-based testing event has been scheduled for Monday June 29, at the Starboard restaurant in Dewey Beach from 1 to 6 p.m. Although pre-registration for this site is full, though a limited number of walk up spots are available. A second community testing event is scheduled for Thursday, July 2, at the Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach from 10 a.m. to p.m. Additional community testing sites in the beach area are likely to be scheduled in the next week or so. Registration is open at http://delaware.curativeinc.com. Testing is highly encouraged for:
- those living in the beach area with people who are not part of your family;
- those attending parties, or restaurants/bars in the last two weeks where you were not wearing a face covering or social distancing;
- people working in the restaurant, hotel or retail industry who have frequent contact with other people.
Staff of any food establishment in or near the beach area can also get tested in Rehoboth Beach on Monday June 29, from 12 to 2 p.m. at Big Fish Grill, 20298 Coastal Highway and on Tuesday, June 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Touch of Italy in Rehoboth Beach at 19724 Coastal Hwy. No pre-registration is required. Anyone with questions can call (302) 738-2545. This was organized by Beebe Healthcare and the Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA).
Information about testing events statewide, including community testing sites and free-standing sites operated by the health care systems and hospitals, is listed on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus website at: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing.
“We are extremely concerned by yet another cluster of COVID-19 cases in the beach area and the potential for spread to others both at work and in social gatherings,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
“We know that some of the positive persons have been at parties recently, potentially transmitting the virus to others who may still be here or may have returned to their homes in other counties or states," she continued. "We are also concerned by our own staff observations in the beach area and pictures seen on social media of people not wearing face coverings or social distancing while they are out and about, including at bars and restaurants. Make no mistake, continuing this behavior is a recipe for disaster. It is a sure way for us to end up with widespread infection that ultimately may not be contained to the beach area.”
Rattay indicated that the risk for widespread infection, hospitalization and even death is higher when people spend more time, close together (not social distancing), in an indoor setting such as a restaurant or bar, where they are not using face coverings.
DPH asks anyone who observes either lack of social distancing or lack of use of face coverings by patrons or staff at businesses to report it to HSPContact@delaware.gov. All complaints are anonymous. Last week, DPH announced a partnership with the Division of Small Business in which DPH’s Health Systems Protection (HSP) section will begin enforcing violations of the state’s reopening requirements in Delaware businesses. While collaboration and education for non-compliance is the preferred action in most cases, HSP will have a broad array of enforcement actions available to it, including business closures as warranted. Some restaurants and bars have chosen to close, limit hours, or limit services based on concerns over the spread of infection in the beach community, and DPH appreciates, supports and encourages any prevention measures businesses they may implement.
“We truly need the public’s cooperation to report when they see persons at businesses not wearing face coverings or social distancing as required,” said DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong.
“Every individual has the opportunity to play an important role in our statewide infection control efforts by telling us when they see something wrong," Hong said. "Additionally, we need the assistance of all COVID-19 positive persons to identify the people they have been in close contact with so that those doing contact tracing on behalf of DPH can reach out and give your close contacts guidance on how to safely quarantine. In order to control the further spread of potential infection, we need everyone who is confirmed to have COVID-19 and those who may have been exposed to voluntarily self-isolate and self-quarantine.”
The daily update
On Sunday, June 28, the DPH reported zero additional fatalities related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 135 additional positive cases. All data reported through the daily updates are based on data received as of 6 p.m. the previous day.
As of 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, 507 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 21 to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 268 were female and 239 were male. A total of 242 individuals were from New Castle County, 89 were from Kent County, and 176 were from Sussex County.
The latest Delaware COVID-19 case statistics cumulatively since March 11, as of 6 p.m., Saturday, June 27, include:
- 11,226 total positive cases
- New Castle County cases: 4,925
- Kent County cases: 1,663
- Sussex County cases: 4,608
- Unknown County: 30
- Females: 6,207; Males: 5,001; Unknown: 18
- Age range: 0 to 104
- Currently hospitalized: 78, including 14 critically ill (This data represents individuals currently hospitalized in a Delaware hospital regardless of residence, and is not cumulative.)
- Delawareans recovered: 6,665 (As the DPH works to stand up Delaware’s new contact tracing program, DPH will transition to a different data surveillance system, which may delay the daily report of recovered individuals. This information will be updated as soon as possible.)
- 95,120 negative cases (preliminary data, based on negative results reported to DPH by state and commercial laboratories performing analysis).
Delaware is considering patients fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self-isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine.
Additional demographic data on COVID-19 cases and deaths, including race/ethnicity, more age-specific data and rates information by ZIP code, can be found on the Division of Public Health’s My Healthy Community data portal (https://myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov/locations/state).
Quarantine, recovery, testing
Information about testing events, including community testing sites and free-standing sites operated by the health care systems and hospitals, will be listed on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus website at: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing. (Note: saliva-based testing events at long-term care facilities listed on the Curative registration site are not community-based testing sites. They are not open to the public, nor to family members of those residents.)
People should stay home if they are sick with fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, or digestive symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. Anyone who is sick and needs essential supplies should ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy to get what they need.
Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, is being advised to make sure to distance themself from others, particularly vulnerable populations. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions — including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment — might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Delawareans with more questions
Individuals who have complaints about individuals violating the Governor’s State of Emergency Order, or violating the public gathering restrictions, should contact state or local law enforcement. Concerns that a businesses may be violating operating restrictions should be directed to: COVID.DOJ@delaware.gov. Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses reopen should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov.
In addition, the Division of Public Health asks any Delaware health care, long-term care, residential or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns to DPH_PAC@delaware.gov or call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, ext. 2.
Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.
Individuals with questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 211, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711 or text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov. Questions regarding unemployment claims should be emailed to: UIClaims@delaware.gov.
For all information on Delaware’s COVID-19 response, visit de.gov/coronavirus.