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State recommends regular testing for unvaccinated

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Governor John Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) are providing updates to Delaware’s COVID-19 testing program.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant. Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild. With COVID-19 cases increasing in the state and nation, and the majority of cases occurring among unvaccinated individuals, Governor Carney, DPH, and DEMA echo the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) urgent call to increase vaccinations nationwide. All Delawareans 12-years-old and older are urged to get vaccinated if they have not already received their COVID-19 vaccine.

For individuals who are not vaccinated, testing is key to identifying and preventing additional infection. DPH recommends the following updated guidance for unvaccinated people:

  • Get tested once a week.
  • Get tested 5-7 days after being exposed to someone with COVID.
  • Isolate at home immediately if unvaccinated and develop symptoms of COVID-19, and quarantine at home immediately if exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The CDC recommends fully vaccinated persons get tested 3-5 days after being exposed to someone with COVID. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine after exposure.

The CDC also recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.

“While vaccination is the best way to put an end to this pandemic, routine COVID-19 testing remains key for those who have not yet taken that step, or who are unable to be vaccinated,” said Governor Carney. “Our cases are increasing, and we need to do all we can to catch any potential surges as early as possible so we can do contact tracing and stop the spread of the virus immediately.”

COVID-19 cases have been steadily climbing in Delaware during the month of July. New cases of over 100 per day have been reported for the last 5 days.

“With COVID-19 cases climbing again daily, it is very important that you get tested weekly if you are not vaccinated in order to identify and stop the spread of COVID,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “This will also help us identify infection among people with no symptoms and allow them to take steps to ensure they are not unknowingly spreading the disease to people who may be more likely to get incredibly sick from the virus.”

Delawareans continue to have a variety of testing options. A full list of testing locations and options can be found onde.gov/gettested.

Fixed Locations: Testing is available as part of the State’s program at several Walgreens locations. Walgreens will be retiring testing at some of its stores with lower volume and re-focusing efforts in areas of high social vulnerability. In addition, 30 Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Health Mart pharmacies statewide will offer testing through a new federal program, which is focused on areas of high social vulnerability. Testing at the state-run sites and federal program sites are free of charge. Other pharmacies and medical provider sites offer testing but may charge; contact the site for details.

DPH also announced that it will begin offering testing at its static vaccination sites starting Wednesday, August 4. The locations include:

  • Georgetown Plaza Shopping Center in Georgetown

19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947

(At U.S. 113 and U.S. 9 intersection)

Monday/Wednesday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday/Thursday– 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover

655 S. Bay Road, Suite 1A, Dover, DE 19901

(Office is located in the rear of building near the WIC entrance)

Monday-Thursday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Oxford/University Plaza in Newark

256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702

(Located in the Oxford Building of University Plaza)

Monday-Thursday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Canby Park in Wilmington

1946 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805

(Located in the Elizabeth Shopping Mall)

Monday/Wednesday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday/Thursday– 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Community Locations: DPH and DEMA continue their partnership with Curative to offer free COVID-19 testing at both static locations, and rotating sites statewide.Visit de.gov/gettested for locations.

At-Home Testing:Currently at-home testing is offered free of charge through a partnership with vault, as well as a new partnership with LabCorp which supports testing for symptomatic or high-risk individuals.

DPH is also announcing today, a new partnership with Delaware Libraries allowing Delawareans to visit most library locations and pick up a take-home rapid test kit to have in case you or a family member needs it. Library cards are not required to pick up a take-home test kit, but you can apply for one and take advantage of other library services at the same time. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to a library for a test kit. Instead, visit one of the other fixed or community testing locations.

School-based testing: All schools and early learning facilities throughout the state can now take advantage of free rapid antigen testing for staff and students. DPH and DOE recently announced this opportunity through a contract with the Quidel Corporation. Quidel provides staffing for testing, analysis and reporting, relieving schools of the burden. Routine screening testing is a key strategy recommended by the CDC and re-enforced in its recent guidance for schools and child care facilities. More information about this program and how schools can sign up, is available here.

If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or headache or congestion or runny nose without a known cause such as allergies.

Delawareans are also encouraged to download the free COVID Alert DE app onto their phones. The app alerts individuals if they have come in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert DE app is available at coronavirus.delaware.gov/covidalert/

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