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Coronavirus Daily Briefing Government News

COVID-19 Daily Briefing 3/20

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Delaware Public Health announces nine new COVID-19 cases

There are 39 total laboratory-confirmed cases in Delaware since March 11, including nine since yesterday. Of the Delawareans diagnosed with COVID-19, 27 are from New Castle County, five from Kent County, and seven from Sussex County.

Of those, 20 are male and 19 are female, with ages ranging from 14 to 80. Four individuals are currently hospitalized and two are critically ill.

If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, make sure to distance yourself from vulnerable populations. This includes people 60 years of age and older; people with serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease or heart disease; or those who are immunocompromised.

For those who have been tested for the virus, please note that the DPH Call Center does not have test results. Individuals awaiting test results, should wait to hear back from their medical provider.

Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at1-866-408-1899, or 711for 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 [email protected].

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.


March 20, 4 p.m.

Beebe further restricts visitors and suspends non-urgent services 

Effective 6 p.m. Friday, no visitors will be allowed at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus and no one will be able to accompany a patient to a service at an outpatient location outside of special circumstances.

One healthy visitor may accompany patients in palliative care or hospice; laboring mothers; patients in the emergency department; NICU or pediatric patients. This in effect for all of Beebe Healthcare.

Beebe is suspending all non-urgent diagnostic testing, physical rehabilitation, and screenings. This includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cardiac rehab, and pulmonary rehab.

Additionally, Beebe is postponing all non-urgent outpatient exams and services for at least six weeks and will re-evaluate as the date approaches. This follows the organizations earlier postponement of all elective surgeries. Patients will be contacted by Beebe regarding rescheduling

Urgent procedures and tests will still be provided.

At Beebe Healthcare’s Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus, no outpatient lab and diagnostic imaging will be performed. This includes non-urgent cardiac stress tests and vascular studies.


March 20, 11:30 a.m.

HELP applications now available for Delaware businesses

The application for the state Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) is now available online.

The program offers no-interest loans for Delaware hospitality businesses adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

It is limited to businesses in specified NAICS codes and that have been in business and generating revenue for at least 12 months, and make $1.5 million or less in revenue. 

For questions, please email [email protected].

For businesses not eligible for HELP, the Small Business Administration is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per business. Click here to learn about applying for an EID loan.


March 20, 11 a.m.

Beebe launches COVID-19 screening phone line

Beebe’s COVID-19 Screening Line, 302-645-3200, will launch at noon Friday to provide screening and an assessment to community members who do not have access to a primary care provider. If deemed appropriate, the clinician on the phone will be able to provide a physician order to be tested at one of Beebe’s Referral-Based Testing locations.

Callers will need their driver’s license and insurance information ready when you call. Please leave a message and your call will be returned if assistance is not immediately provided.

For more information about Beebe’s referral-based testing, go to the public health page at www.beebehealthcare.org/patients-visitors/public-health-information.

Hours of operation:

On Friday the Screening and Assessment Line will be staffed noon to 4:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, it will be staffed 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Starting Monday, March 23, the line will be staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


March 20, 10 a.m.

Delaware COVID-19 cases increase to 38

Delaware now has 38 patients who have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, an increase of eight from Thursday afternoon, according to an update from the Delaware Division of Public Health. 

Of those 38 cases, 27 are in New Castle County while Kent County has five and Sussex County has six.

New Castle County added four new cases from yesterday while Kent and Sussex counties both added two. The first Friday update also doubled the new state cases added on Thursday, when four were reported.

Demographic data for the new patients is not yet available, but on Thursday DPH reported that of the then-30 cases, 17 are male and 13 are female. The individuals range in age from 14 to 80. Three individuals are currently hospitalized; one is critically ill.


March 20, 10 a.m.

Longwood Foundation donates $1 Million to DCF COVID-19 Fund

The Longwood Foundation has donated $1 million to the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF).

 Longwood President Thère du Pont said he anticipates making additional contributions to the fund as the community’s needs progress.

The COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund at the DCF will target evolving needs of Delaware communities most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

A process for nonprofits wishing to apply for grants will be announced soon.

The DCF fund is part of the Delaware COVID-19 Emergency Response Initiative, a coordinated effort of leading nonprofit agencies to alleviate the impact of the crisis in Delaware. In addition to the DCF, the partnering agencies are Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, Philanthropy Delaware and United Way of Delaware. 

To donate or volunteer, visit delcf.org/coronavirus.


March 19, 10 p.m.

Walmart ramps up hiring

Walmart will hire 150,000 new employees through the end of May at its stores, clubs and warehouses to meet the surge of shoppers brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The jobs are expected to be temporary through May, but “many will convert to permanent roles over time,” the company said.

Walmat also announced it plans to spend $550 million on bonuses for its current workers. That includes earlier payouts of quarterly bonuses as well as a special cash bonus of $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time workers employed by Walmart as of March 1.


March 19, 5 p.m.

Kohl’s closes its doors during pandemic

Kohl’s Corp. closed the doors on 1,100 stores across the country Thursday at least until April 1. The decision was made as a sign of “support of efforts” to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a press release.

The move comes days after Kohl’s scaled back hours after seeing a drop in floor sales. Kohl’s employees will be paid for two weeks, according to Kohl’s.

Kohl’s joins other department store chains like Macy’s, Boscov’s and Nordstrom in temporary shutdowns, while other major retailers are reducing their hours.

Walmart cut down its store hours starting Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. It’s the second time in a week that the multinational retail chain did so. Home Depot is closing stores at 6 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Target also cut down its hours this week, closing at 9 p.m. Best Buy also reduced hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but officials said that the decision will be revisited on an ongoing basis.


March 19, 4 p.m.

WSFS Community Foundation donates $300K to COVID-19 response

WSFS Bank announced a $300,000 pledge from the WSFS Community Foundation to help local charities’ coronavirus relief efforts.These funds will help provide necessary services to people in the Greater Delaware Valley during this unprecedented time. The pledge will be allocated in $25,000 grants to eight organizations, including United Way of Delaware and the Delaware Community Foundation.

The remaining $100,000 will be distributed in the months to come to support pandemic recovery efforts throughout our neighboring communities.

“Serving our communities includes partnering with local nonprofits who play a critical role in helping those in need. By providing this grant, we are helping to restore and ensure a better life and brighter future for members of our communities impacted by the pandemic,” said Vernita Dorsey, senior vice president and director of community strategy for WSFS Bank, in a statement.

“We are thrilled with the generous response of so many, so quickly, to the community’s need at this point. WSFS has always been a leader in this region, and their early contributions show that leadership again,” added DCF’s Stuart Comstock-Gay

DCF is a partner in the Delaware Collaborative, which has four leading nonprofits coordinating initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Delaware. The group is coordinating fundraising, grantmaking and volunteer activities.

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