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Coronavirus Daily Briefing News

COVID-19 Daily Briefing 3/18

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March 18, 4 p.m.

Fannie Mae offers assistance for COVID-19 affected homeowners

Fannie Mae wants to remind those impacted by COVID-19 of available mortgage assistance and relief options. Under Fannie Mae’s guidelines for single-family mortgages:

  • Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer
  • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days
  • Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
  • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended
  • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees
  • After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent plan to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification

Homeowners can find out if they have a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage and access to the Disaster Response Network™ by visiting www.KnowYourOptions.com/loanlookup.


March 18, 3 p.m.

Sens. Coons, Cardin bill seeks to relieve small business loans for 6 months

The Small Business Debt Relief Act of 2020 would be a lifeline for a wide range of American small businesses fighting for their survival over the coming months.

Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced legislation that would ensure that every small business with a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) would be relieved of their loan payments for the next six months. 

The senators aim to include this bill in the third legislative package to respond to the coronavirus currently being drafted. 

“We have no time to waste to help small businesses and the millions of employees whose livelihoods are at stake right now.  The scale and speed of the federal government response will determine the future of independent restaurants, hotels, retailers, childcare centers, and so many other small businesses across the country,” said Coons, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee and ranking member of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the SBA. 


March 18, 2:30 p.m.

Delaware’s positive cases reach 26

Delaware’s number of positive coronavirus cases now totals 26, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health. That includes 20 cases in New Castle County, three in Kent County and three in Sussex County. 

DPH officials reported the first case in Kent County, a patient hospitalized in critical condition, this morning and the total has grown by six cases in five hours. The latest update is the state’s first rolling update not made through a press release or press conference, but through its coronavirus website portal. 

Officials said this morning that more frequent updates would be put out throughout the day, with a daily press release to summarize the events and a weekly public question-and-answer session to allow public inquiry.

It is not yet clear how many of the six new cases were discovered through drive-thru screenings run by ChristianaCare and Beebe Healthcare late last week. The governor is scheduled to address media about the coronavirus effort at 4:30 p.m. in Wilmington.


March 18, 2 p.m.

ChristianaCare launches referral center

ChristianaCare opened a referral center in New Castle County to test people who are showing symptoms of coronavirus and have been referred by their doctor.

This is not a walk-in facility. Only patients who have a referral, have a testing order and made an appointment will only be tested.

Tests are being done at commercial labs outside Delaware, and turnaround time is two to five days. The labs will notify the state’s Division of Public Health of any positive test results. ChristianaCare will share the test results to the patient’s referring physician.

ChristianaCare has no plans to host future drive-thru events at this time.

People who are concerned if they have coronavirus are asked to call their primary care provider to discuss symptoms and ask to be evaluated for care and testing.

“The safety of our community and our caregivers is our top priority,” ChristianaCare Chief Operating Officer Sharon Kurfuerst said in a statement. “Based on the availability of supplies, we are working to meet the needs of our community in the safest way possible, in close collaboration with the state of Delaware and our regional health care partners.”

People who do not have a primary care provider should call the Delaware Division of Public Health Call Center at 866-408-1899 for guidance.


March 18, 12:30 p.m.

Stores offer age-restricted hours for seniors

Giant and Acme are joining the growing number of stores to offer special hours for seniors to complete their shopping, potentially at less risk in contracting the coronavirus.

Because of panic-shopping, many stores across the state have shelves empty of essentials like chicken, bread, milk and eggs.

Numerous retailers began the practice nationwide Wednesday, including Target, Fresh Market and Dollar General in Delaware, where the first hour of the day will be reserved for those 60 or older. Safeway is providing time from 7 to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Giant and Acme will add its stores to that mix. Starting Thursday, Giant will offer senior-only hours set from 6 to 7 a.m. daily.  Acme reserved senior-only hours from 7 to 9 a.m., at minimum every Tuesday and Thursday. Acme customers should check their local store’s hours to see if they are on a different schedule.

Giant said that it would not check IDs but will rely upon the honor system for the greater community to observe the hours. Team members may ask others to leave, it said.

Giant also announced that it is hiring temporary and part-time employees for service associates, cashiers, general stock clerks, drivers and fulfillment center selectors. Those interested can apply at https://giantfood.com/gf-careers/


March 18, noon

Beebe further restricts visitors, other guidelines

Beebe Healthcare has updated its visitor restriction to now limit to one essential visitor per patient, starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. As of last week, Beebe allowed two visitors per patient if the visitor was a spouse, parent, caregiver, partner or child over 17.

Only one visitor will be allowed to visit the patient during their stay, and their names will be recorded in the hospital’s system. Patients who are evaluated for coronavirus or who have tested positive will not be allowed visitors.

Visitation hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only two entrances will be open to the public.


March 18, noon

Rehoboth supports restaurants with parking

Rehoboth Beach city officials announced Wednesday that restaurants are now able to reserve two parking spaces in front of their businesses for meal pickup service or vehicles making meal deliveries.


March 18, 10:45 a.m.

Delmarva Power’s parent company pledges $1.15M

Exelon Corporation, the company that owns Delmarva Power, has pledged to donate $1.15 million to national and local relief organizations, including an initial donation of $25,000 to the United Way of Delaware.

That matches United Way of Delaware’s current fund total. Exelon also donated $50,000 to the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.

“We continue to evaluate other local opportunities as they develop in this rapidly changing environment,” said Tim Stokes, a Exelon spokesman.

Exelon provided a combined donation of $275,000 to the American Red Cross and United Way Worldwide, as well as several other donations to organizations in Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

Delmarva Power, which serves 535,000 customers in Delaware, is offering to wave new late payment feeds and suspending service disconnections at least until May 1, on a case-by-case basis. Delmarva also offers payment options.


March 18, 9:30 a.m.

Delaware confirmed cases tick up to 19, with Kent reporting first

Delaware now has confirmed 19 cases of coronavirus, with the first in Kent County now confirming that all three counties in the state have cases.

The Kent County patient is also hospitalized in critically ill condition, the first case to reach that status, Delaware Secretary of Health and Social Services Dr. Kara Walker said in an online briefing Wednesday morning.

Seventeen of the 19 cases are in New Castle County, while one case is in Sussex County.

On Tuesday, the Delaware Department of Public Health (DPH) announced another eight cases were confirmed, and among them are a Wilmington Public Works employee, a DuPont employee at its Chestnut Run site and a staff member at the EastSide Charter School in Wilmington. Many of Tuesday’s cases were found in a drive-thru testing site run by ChristianaCare in Wilmington. The remainder of the results from that screening, and from one run by Beebe Healthcare in Lewes are expected in the next day or two.

“Today I’m asking you all to do more,“ Walker told citizens, noting that all should act as if they have the coronavirus in order to protect those vulnerable in our society, especially the elderly and immune-compromised. “We don’t have much time left to try to flatten the curve.”

“We’re all experiencing a profound shock to our sense of normalcy,” Walker said, noting the state has largely shut down in a week.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, stressed adhering to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on social distancing and watching for symptoms, especially fever.

“This may be a way that we have to adapt our lives to living for a while,” she said.

The officials also told the public that they would be releasing updated coronavirus data more often each day instead of at 4 p.m. daily and also hosting weekly question-and-answer sessions using social media.

By Jacob Owens

[email protected]


March 18, 7 a.m.

Dover Air Force Base

Dover Air Force Base has declared an on-base public health emergency starting Wednesday morning in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The declaration restricts movement of personnel and access to the installation as necessary, as well as implementing quarantine or isolation procedures for those who may be affected. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the base.

“The safety of our Dover family is our top priority,” DAFB installation commander Col. Matthew Jones said in a statement. “We are working in close coordination with local and state authorities to help mitigate the spread and effects of the coronavirus, while providing updates as quickly as possible.”


March 17, 5 p.m.

Macy’s, Boscov’s close all locations

Macy’s has closed its locations at the Christiana, Concord and Dover malls as of Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly thereafter, Boscov’s announced that it was shuttering all of its stores, including at the Concord and Dover malls as well as the Christiana Town Center.

The two represent the state’s largest department stores to have closed completely, with JC Penney reducing hours from noon to 7 p.m. every day except Sundays, when it will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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