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COVID-19 Daily Briefing 3/23

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March 23, 6 p.m.

Governor closes Delaware schools through May 15

Gov. John Carney has ordered all Delaware schools to remain closed through at least Friday, May 15, to fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“On March 13, after significant discussion with superintendents and charter school leaders, I ordered public schools to close through this Friday, March 27,” Carney said in a statement announcing the order. “This two-week period was intended to help school leaders and educators plan for what came next.

“We have spent a significant portion of the last week discussing plans for remote instruction, the delivery of meals, and other social services. This is an unusual time – but children still deserve access to a quality education, and families rely on the social services we deliver in our schools every day. We’ll continue to work directly with school leaders on these important issues.”

Carney also announced the following:

  • Delaware intends to formally recommend that no school district or charter school extend its school calendar beyond the end of June. Susan Bunting, secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, will formally make that recommendation to the State Board of Education, upon submission by each district and charter.
  • The state has submitted a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education requesting Delaware be exempt from state testing this year to focus our efforts on student instruction.

Click here for a list of school meal sites.

Click here the Delaware Department of Education’s list of remote learning activities and other resources.

Read a letter that Carney sent Monday night to families, educators, and school leaders.

March 23, 5 p.m.

Carney declares ‘public health emergency’

Effective 5 pm. Monday, Gov. John Carney has declared a Public Health Emergency and released a more robust Order to assist with Delaware’s response to COVID-19.. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) issued a companion order focused on strengthening Delaware’s health care workforce in response to COVID-19.

“We’re acting with urgency to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm our hospital system,” said Governor Carney. “These new orders will help make sure Delaware has the supplies and the health care professionals necessary to respond to COVID-19. I want to thank all of Delaware’s health care workers who are on the front lines of our response. We owe you all a debt of gratitude.

“We need everyone’s help. Delawareans should follow basic hygiene practices and stay home unless it’s essential to go out for work, or for the health and well-being of your family. We’ll get through this, but we all need to pitch in and take this threat seriously.”

Under the order from DEMA and DPH:

  • Nurses, doctors, mental health care providers, pharmacists and other health care professionals who have active licenses or certificates of good standing in any U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide in-person health care services in Delaware throughout the emergency, as well as telemedicine services.
  • Delaware health care professionals whose licenses expired in the last five years are authorized to provide health care services in Delaware, assuming their licenses were in good standing for the five-year period.

Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for 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 DPHCall@delaware.gov.  

Read Governor Carney’s Public Health Emergency Declaration.

Read the companion order from DEMA and DPH.

March 23, 5 p.m.

Delaware adds 19 more cases, totaling 87

Delaware’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 87, with 58 in New Castle County, nine in Kent County and 20 in Sussex County, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

This includes 31 additional cases since yesterday – the largest one-day gain to date in cases.

Of these cases, 44 are male and 43 are female. The individuals range in age from 1 to 90. Seven individuals are currently hospitalized; three are critically ill. The source of exposure for many of these positive cases is unknown, which indicates community spread of the virus is occurring in the state. 

To protect personal health information, DPH will not disclose additional information about the individuals. DPH cannot confirm specific information even if other entities choose to make their own announcements. 

“We know this is a startling increase for Delawareans to see,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, who is also a practicing family physician, in a statement. ” It is an indication of spread that we expected to see, but it is also reflective of the state’s increased testing capacity which is leading to more results – both positive and negative. It also shows us why we need Delawareans to stay home and stay safe. We all must end unnecessary contact with others, practice stringent social distancing, go out for essential groceries or prescriptions only as needed, and go to work only if we are in an essential business. We will get through this, but we must do it together.” 

March 23, 3 p.m.

ChristianaCare enacts mandatory masking for caregivers and visitors

Effective March 23 at 3 pm, all visitors at ChristianaCare facilities must wear face masks at all times. A mask will be provided as part of the visitor screening process.

Visit ChristianaCare.org for more information.

March 23, 1:30 p.m.

Sen. Coons focused on delivering $350B for small businesses in Delaware, nationwide

Ranking Member of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), joined Bloomberg TV to discuss the latest efforts to provide small business relief in a third COVID-19 response package. Sen. Coons has advocated for a wide range of relief measures for small businesses and their workers including expanded unemployment insurance, new grants, and SBA loan relief.

“I have heard directly from friends, from constituents, from longtime colleagues and neighbors, who have had to make very hard decisions for their restaurants, for their hotels, for their long-established local business, for their regional businesses, by sending layoff notices or by holding back on them in hopes that we’re going to get this done today. This $350 billion fund is available to companies that employ 500 or fewer – even if that’s 500 in this location, 500 in this location but they have some interlocking ownership. It’s principally designed to put a floor under the restaurant and travel and hotel industries that are genuinely struggling, and the small businesses that so many of us are familiar with that of the backbone of restaurants and hotels,” said Senator Coons.

“Those loans will become grants to the extent they are spent sustaining payroll expenses, and there are provisions that allow companies to hire back people who were just let go. Part of the goal here is to keep people on health care through their employer. We also have robust unemployment insurance provisions for those folks who work for companies that don’t see that they will be able to access these grants.”

Full video and audio available here.

March 23, 12:45 pm

Delaware BIO wants to do its part to ensure that critical research and development, testing, and public health programs can continue.

In support of this BIO is launching their Coronavirus Hub that connects companies that have relevant supplies, capacities, and resources to share, with organizations that need them. The new hub will enable users to post requests for urgently needed items, as well as to post the availability of supplies and capacity.

The portal connects in real time through customized announcements and is searchable by keywords. Connections for medical supplies will be facilitated in partnership with Healthcare Ready to ensure an organized and optimized allocation of items in need, and thus will not be publicly available or searchable.

Delaware BIO has heard requests from medical research centers, biopharmaceutical companies, testing developers and testing sites requesting supplies such as:

  • Viral RNA kits
  • Pure compact RNA
  • Compact nucleic acid isolation kits
  • Automated nucleic acid extraction systems
  • Tips for instrument pipetting
  • PCR testing capabilities
  • N95 masks
  • N100, P100 & R100 masks/respirators
  • N99, P99 & R99 masks/respirators
  • Nitrile gloves (general purpose and exam)
  • Gowns – patient isolation and disposable
  • Swab kit supplies – 1 ml vials, viral transfer medium, swabs, tubes
  • Hand sanitizer

If you have any of these products, please share that information through this hub. 

Beyond physical supplies, the Hub will provide users the ability to request or share other resources, such as capacities, technologies, or assets that may be useful in COVID-19 response and/or development programs. A messaging feature permits users to reach out to one another, privately within the hub.

If you have any questions, recommendations or technical issues, please contact: web@bio.org.

March 23, 11 a.m.

State confirms four new COVID-19 cases, now totaling 68

According to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) ,the states confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased to 68, adding 4 cases this morning.

As of the late morning update, 44 of the cases are in New Castle County, six are in Kent County and 18 are in Sussex County. New Castle added once new cases and Sussex added three. 

On Sunday evening, Gov. John Carney announced a closure of non-essential business and a stay-at-home order for residents, other than to attend to essential work or life-sustaining activities, starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Those orders will be in effect until May 15 or whenever the pandemic’s threat has been neutralized.

March 23, 8:45 a.m.

Eight new COVID-19 cases confirmed, total now stands at 64

Delaware’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased to 64, adding eight cases overnight, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

As of the Monday morning update, 43 of the cases are in New Castle County, six are in Kent County and 15 are in Sussex County. New Castle added four of the new cases, while Kent added one and Sussex added three. Demographics for the new cases are not yet available.

Of the 56 confirmed cases as of Sunday evening, 30 are male and 26 are female. The individuals range in age from 14 to 80. Six individuals are currently hospitalized; three are critically ill.

On Sunday evening, Gov. John Carney announced a closure of non-essential business and a stay-at-home order for residents, other than to attend to essential work or life-sustaining activities, starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Those orders will be in effect until May 15 or whenever the pandemic’s threat has been neutralized.

March 23, 9 a.m.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor announces order to close all non-essential businesses

Effective Monday, March 23, at 4:00 p.m., 16 hours before Governor Carney’s order, Mayor Paul Kuhns’Proclamation of a Civil Emergency orders all non-essential businesses to remain closed and for all residents of Rehoboth Beach to shelter in place until May 15 or when the public health threat of COVID-19 has been eliminated.

To protect the health and safety of all Rehoboth Beach residents the beach and Boardwalk are already closed to the public.

Leaving your home is allowed for essential activities including; getting groceries, picking up a prescription, visiting a doctor, and engaging in other activities essential to their health, and the health and wellbeing of their family members, including pets. Delawareans are encouraged to participate in outdoor activity but must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

The City of Rehoboth Beach buildings and offices are closed to the general public through May 15. This includes City Hall, administrative offices, public works buildings, playgrounds, public restrooms, along with the beach and Boardwalk. City staff continues to work on-site and we strongly encourage people to do any business with the City that they can remotely.

Visit the official website of the City of Rehoboth Beach for updates.

March 23, 8 a.m.

DelDOT operational changes

Effective Monday March 23,all four DMV locations will go to kiosk, drive-through and emergency appointment only. Dealer paperwork can be dropped off for processing and picked up when notified. Inspection lanes will remain open as no personal interaction is required, and the drive through windows at each location will have additional staff working to process DMV-related transactions. At no time will there be more than 10 people permitted in DMV lobbies.

To schedule an appointment for urgent business at DMV that cannot wait until after the current situation passes, call: Delaware City – 302-365-3208; Dover – 302-744-2568; Georgetown – 302-853-1034; Wilmington – 302-434-3208.

If you are feeling sick, please do not visit public facilities and avoid public transportation. For more information on the state’s response to the Coronavirus, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

March 22

Dover Air Force Base orders shelter-in-placeCol. Matthew Jones, 436th Airlift Wing commander, has issued a shelter-in-place order for Dover AFB, effective March 24, at 8 a.m. through May 15.

This follows Delaware Gov. John Carney’s order issued March 22, for the state.

All Dover AFB personnel must shelter in their place of residence unless obtaining food, caring for an immediate relative, participating in outdoor activities such as walking or running, or to seek necessary health care. Additionally, all personnel must practice social distancing of at least six feet or more.

“While I know these measures provide a great deal of inconvenience, they are the safest course of action to ensure COVID-19 spread is limited and Team Dover remains safe,”Jones said in a statement. “I mirror what Gov. Carney said. The quicker we all abide by these provisions, the quicker we can get past this issue.”

For base-specific information about COVID-19, visit www.dover.af.mil/Coronavirus.


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