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COVID-19 Daily Briefing 3/24

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March 24, 5:13 p.m.

ChristianaCare opens medical supply donation center

With business leaders Richard Piendak and Dave Tiberi, ChristianaCare is opening a collection site in Newport to take medical supply donations starting on Wednesday.

ChristianaCare is asking people and businesses to donate all types of unused protective face masks (especially N95 masks); protective suits and medical scrubs; goggles, safety glasses and face shields; cleaning and sterilizing solutions and wipes; medical gloves; digital and disposable thermometers and hand sanitizers.

People bringing donations should pack items in the truck of their car and pull in the donation line. Windows should be rolled up and drivers should not get out of their cars. Volunteers will unload the cars. Anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms should not come to this donation site.

Donations will be accepted at 110 W. Market St. in Newport, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 25 to March 27. Additional dates will be added as needed.

People and businesses are asked to donate what they do not need, but money donations to support ChristianaCare’s efforts can be made online at https://christianacare.org/donors/.

March 24, 5 p.m.

Delaware confirms 104 cases

Thirteen new cases were confirmed this afternoon, now bringing Delaware’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases to 104.

There are 71 cases in New Castle County, 10 in Kent County and 23 in Sussex County, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

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.

March 24, 4:45 p.m.

Governor Carney moves presidential primary date to June 2 and suspends residential foreclosures

Effective March 25, at 8 a.m., Gov. John Carney’s sixth modification to his State of Emergency declaration will move the date of Delaware’s presidential primary to June 2, and suspends residential foreclosures and evictions during the outbreak of COVID-19.This will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

“Delawareans have a basic, fundamental right to vote. Today’s order will preserve that right and allow Delawareans to vote by absentee ballot in the presidential primary on June 2,” said Governor Carney in a statement.

All elections for school board members in Delaware school districts scheduled for May 12 are delayed until June 16 under the updated order, and clarifies that social distancing due to COVID-19 is a valid reason to vote by absentee ballot.

The order also prevents lenders from commencing foreclosures during this period. Residential mortgage foreclosures that began prior to Governor Carney’s State of Emergency declaration will not move forward until the 31st day following the termination of the Governor’s emergency declaration, at the earliest. Additionally, the modification to the SOE order prevents landlords from evicting Delawareans from their homes during this crisis, and cannot charge late fees.

Governor Carney’s order also prevents residential utility service companies from terminating service or charging fees for late payments for services.

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.

March 24, 2:30 p.m.

Sussex County suspends all public hearings indefinitely in response to COVID-19

Sussex County has announced it will suspend public hearings for ordinances, land use applications and other matters requiring citizen input until further notice.

County Council President Michael H. Vincent and County Administrator Todd F. Lawson announced today that public hearings already scheduled for the County Council, Planning & Zoning Commission, and Board of Adjustment will be suspended indefinitely, and no new hearings will be scheduled for any County public body at this time.

Meetings of the three Sussex County bodies will continue, as needed, in order for general business and other matters that have moved through the public hearing process to proceed. The public will not be permitted entry to any meetings, as permitted by emergency gubernatorial authority.

However, all meetings will be broadcast live, and archived, on the County’s website at www.sussexcountyde.gov. The public is urged to monitor the County website for updates on future meetings and agendas.

As of writing, county offices remain operational, but closed to the public.

March 24, 2 p.m.

New Castle County closes all playgrounds and basketball courts at county parks

Effective immediately, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer ordered parks staff to begin closures of amenities in key regional New Castle County parks. Additionally, all neighborhood parks, courts and sports fields are closed until further notice.

Those parks include:

  • Paper Mill Park (removal of basketball rims, installation of fencing around playground)
  • Delcastle Recreational Park (removal of basketball rims, installation of fencing around playground)
  • Glasgow Park (removal of basketball rims, installation of fencing around playground, closed High 5 playground)
  • Banning Regional Park (installation of fencing around playground)
  • Edgemoor Gardens Park (fenced in basketball courts will be locked)
  • Greenbank Park (fenced in basketball courts will be locked)
  • Talley Day Park (installation of fencing around playground)

“Our one goal is public safety. Please continue to use our parks for walking, jogging, bike riding and other activities consistent with the public health guidance we are all receiving,” said County Executive Meyer in a statement. “Our county can and will continue to do everything possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

While county police will also increase park patrol, residents should call the New Castle County police department’s non-emergency line, 302-573-2800, to report large gatherings at county parks and facilities and at private residences.

New Castle County sponsored events, tours, leagues, senior programming and other events remain canceled. Libraries remain closed as well.

“We are all in this together,” said County Executive Meyer in a statement. “Do your part to flatten the curve. Stay home. Practice social distancing and good hygiene. Look out for the most vulnerable among us. We will make it through this stronger.”

The county wishes to remind residents that the parks are only for individual or small group recreation and gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited.  This order comes as a result of the past weekend where several large groups congregated in parks around the county.

March 24, 1:30 p.m.

Firefly Music Festival announces 2020 cancellation 

AEG announced Tuesday that the Firefly Music Festival, scheduled for June 18 – 21, has been cancelled at the direction of state and local authorities and federal guidelines.

At this time the festival is still scheduled to continue at the Woodlands in June 2021.

All Firefly 2020 ticket holders who purchased tickets through the official ticket vender, Elevate, will receive a full refund or you may transfer the ticket to Firefly 2021.

Instructions for completing the refund will be distributed via email, if you do not receive an email or have any questions, please contact Festival Ticketing Support at support@festivalticketing.com.

March 24, 12:30 p.m. 

Delaware Extends Personal Income Tax Return Filing Deadline to July 15

The Delaware Division of Revenue has extended the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Delaware personal income tax returns to July 15, 2020. DOR and the Internal Revenue Service remain open, and taxpayers are encouraged to continue to file their state and federal returns electronically or by mail.

“Although the filing deadline has been extended, individuals are still urged to file as soon as possible,” said Director of Revenue Jennifer Hudson in a statement. “Filing electronically with direct deposit remains the fastest way to get your refund. Although we are operating with modified staffing arrangements to ensure the health and safety of our staff and customers, the Division of Revenue continues to operate in support of the State and its taxpayers. We are continuing to process tax returns and issue refunds.”

DOR’s public service windows are closed, but staff remain available to respond to taxpayer questions by e-mail. Inquiries may be sent to any of the email addresses listed the DOR website.

The DOR has also extended income tax filing deadlines for corporate final, corporate tentative, estimated personal income taxes, and fiduciary income taxes to July 15, 2020. All other returns remain due without extension.

While DOR staff continue to process returns, some taxpayers with complex returns, filing errors, or paper submissions may experience delays. Taxpayers with questions about the status of their refund may use the online tool or e-mail DOR_PublicService@delaware.gov.

Individuals who are unable to meet the July 15 filing deadline may file an extension request online on or before July 15 by email to DOR_PublicService@delaware.gov, or through their tax preparer.

Taxpayers who have an outstanding balance and need assistance should contact DOR_Collections@delaware.gov. For additional information and updates about DOR’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, please visit their website.

March 24, 12 p.m.

DNREC campgrounds and playgrounds to close March 24

Effective March 24 at 5 p.m. all state park campsites, cabins, cottages, yurts and playgrounds will close, however state parks and wildlife areas will remain open. All campground reservations scheduled through May 15 will be canceled and full refunds will be issued for reservations scheduled during that time.

Buildings such as park offices and nature centers remain closed, and programs and tours are canceled. Additionally, beach access from within Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks is prohibited at this time.

Parking and fishing at the Indian River Inlet within Delaware Seashore State Park is permitted, but is subject to change at any time.

Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding gatherings of people.

Additional questions can be handled at 1-877-98 PARKS (1-877-987-2757).

March 24, 11:45 a.m.

Sussex Tech donates medical supplies to Sussex hospitals to fight coronavirus

The Sussex Technical School District has donated extra medical supplies and protective equipment to staff at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford and Beebe Healthcare in Lewes.

“In this fight, everyone has to do their part. For Sussex Tech, that means supporting our front-line nurses and doctors here in our community,” Sussex Tech Superintendent Stephen Guthrie said in a statement. “We know these extra supplies will go to a life-saving cause. Sussex Tech has educated local medical professionals for the last six decades, and we stand behind them all the way.”

The items donated include 8,800 gloves, 35 surgical gowns, 30 personal protective gowns, five biohazard protective kits, seven boxes of alcohol wipes, 23 bottles of hand sanitizer, 10 boxes of masks, 11 boxes of thermometer covers, sanitizer wipes, and other supplies.

The donations were provided by the high school and adult education health professions programs and the high school nursing staff. Sussex Tech enrolls about 140 students in its high school health professions program and 160 in its adult education classes annually.

March 24, 11 a.m.

Milford updates town operations

Effective immediately a portion of the Town of Milford’s employees will be partially working for home until further notice.

Customers are encouraged to make payments via millsboro.org, however the town hall will remain open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Building-permit-related and other services will be provided via the drive-through window located on the Mitchell St. side of the Millsboro Town Center (322 Wilson Highway).

The CALEA-accredited Millsboro Police Department will continue to provide services around the clock, and the Town’s water and sewer employees will continue to report during normal business hours and whenever needed.

“Millsboro wants to do what it can to help developers, contractors, and others continue to move forward with their projects during this economically-challenging period,” Milford town manager Sheldon P. Hudson said in a statement. “At a time when many organizations are shutting down completely – sometimes out of necessity – we believe the city’s current and future business community will appreciate the Town of Millsboro’s efforts and will remember them when the economy inevitably starts booming again.”

March 24, 10 a.m.

Delaware confirmed cases hit 91

Four new cases were confirmed the morning that Gov. John Carny’s order to close non-essential businesses went into effect. Delaware’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases now total 91, with 60 in New Castle County, nine in Kent County and 22 in Sussex County, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

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.

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