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COVID-19 Daily Briefing 3/31

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March 31, 6 p.m.

NCC Executive Meyer proposes balanced budget; highlights include critical investment in COVID-19 protections

New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer presented a Fiscal Year 2021 balanced budget, along with emergency ordinances that make critical investments in COVID-19 responses. A link to this evening’s budget address can be found HERE. For the full submitted Fiscal Year 2021 budget, click HERE.

“We’re all in this together,” said County Executive Meyer. “We are so appreciative of our first responders and those who take care of us, we made it a priority to take care of them in this year’s budget,” as he highlighted an emergency ordinance that would free up $1 million to invest in personal protection equipment, test kits, technology and additional medical supplies to keep first responders and all county employees and county residents safe, healthy, and able to work.

Other critical investments and policy changes proposed by County Executive Meyer tonight included:

  • A $500,000 investment in Delaware State Housing Authority’s Emergency COVID-19 Recovery Rental Assistance program.
  • A $500,000 investment for emergency COVID-19 recovery rapid response for those in the greatest need. This investment will supplement the existing efforts of United Way, Delaware Community Foundation, Longwood Foundation and Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. Rapid response moneys are distributed weekly to organizations to provide goods and services to those with the greatest needs across Delaware. Our funding will provide additional support for New Castle County goods and services.
  • Emergency COVID-19 Recovery County Financial Relief. Relief on certain tax collections, penalties, fees as announced earlier this week.
  • Bolstering the County’s seasonal Public Works jobs program to fill in gaps in County workforce by doubling the size of this seasonal job program, enabling those currently out of work to immediately begin earning a living again. Hiring for this program will begin as soon as safely possible, and the program will be larger than it has been in over a decade.
  • Rushing large projects out to bid; Those interested can remotely bid throughout April and May and once it is safe to do so, residents will immediately be put to work, building a library, paramedic station and providing ramped up maintenance of our sewer system and on other publicly valuable projects.

“This afternoon, Chief Financial Officer Michael Smith and his Finance team presented a balanced budget to County Council which includes no tax increases,” County Executive Meyer said. “This budget looks out for those left behind in today’s economy, investing in apprenticeships and the trades through our vocational school district, supporting our fire service and preserving more open space.”

“Many of the assumptions of our $209 million general fund operating budget, $84 million sewer operating budget and $65 million capital budget are rapidly changing. We will work with County Council in the coming months, as we see how our revenue projections change, and as we first make immediate investments to preserve our community through this crisis.”


March 31, 6 p.m.

eBright Health Partners With Beebe Healthcare To Collect Needed Supplies

In order to provide needed medical supplies to the healthcare systems in Delaware, eBright Health ACO is hosting donation drop-off locations throughout the state.

The Sussex County event for Beebe Healthcare will be held Wednesday, April 1 through Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the vacant storefront on the east side (toward Old Orchard Road) of Weis Markets at Five Points. The address is 17232 N. Village Main Blvd., Lewes.

Those who wish to donate items on the supply list should have the items in their trunk. Drive up to the drop-off location and stay in your car. Open your trunk when directed and a volunteer will remove the items for you. A second volunteer will collect your name and information so that you can be thanked for your donation.

List of supplies being requested:

  • Unused face and surgical masks, especially N95 masks
  • Eye protectors: safety goggles, safety glasses, clear face shields
  • Surgical and medical gloves
  • Medical garb, suits, scrubs, and isolation gowns
  • Cleaning and sanitizer solutions (such as alcohol wipes/pads, bleach wipes, sanitizing wipes)
  • Hand sanitizer, including hand sanitizer bottles/pumps/spray bottles
  • Brown paper bags and lunch bags
  • Alternative respirators that OSHA has given permission to use in healthcare settings during this historic pandemic.

Anyone who is feeling sick should not come to the donation sites.

For more information: https://donatede.org.

If you have a large quantity of items to donate or if you are unable to make it to the donation site, please fill out the donation form online and someone will get back to you. Monetary donations can be made here.


March 31, 5 p.m.

Delaware Public Health announces tenth death of a Delawarean, cases pass 300

The Delaware Division of Public Health has announced three additional fatalities related to COVID-19. In total, 10 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19, with five deaths related to long-term care facilities, including four in New Castle County  and one in Sussex County.

In Delaware since March 11 there have been 319 total laboratory-confirmed cases. Of those, 197 are residents of New Castle County, 88 are from Sussex County and 34 are from Kent County. Currently, 57 patients are hospitalized and 14 are considered critically ill. Preliminary data provided by DPH shows there have been 3696 negative cases.

To protect personal health information, DPH will not disclose additional information about the individuals who passed away, nor will DPH confirm specific information about any individual case, even if other persons or entities disclose it independently.

Delaware is considering patients fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self-isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine.

*Data on negative cases are preliminary, based on negative results reported to DPH by state and commercial laboratories performing analysis. Multiple negative tests per person are only counted once.


March 31, 4:30 p.m.

SBA and Treasury begin unprecedented effort to distribute funds

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin announced that the SBA and Treasury Department have initiated a robust mobilization effort of banks and other lending institutions to provide small businesses with the capital they need.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act establishes a new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, providing relief to millions of small businesses to sustain operations and keep their workers employed.

The loan program will provide critical capital to businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees, or SBA fees. All loan payments will be deferred for six months. Most importantly, the SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest.

“This unprecedented public-private partnership is going to assist small businesses with accessing capital quickly. Our goal is to position lenders as the single point-of-contact for small businesses – the application, loan processing, and disbursement of funds will all be administered at the community level,” said Administrator Carranza in a statement. “Speed is the operative word; applications for the emergency capital can begin as early as this week, with lenders using their own systems and processes to make these loans. We remain committed to supporting our nation’s more than 30 million small businesses and their employees, so that they can continue to be the fuel for our nation’s economic engine.”


March 31, 4:15 p.m.

Horizon to help nonprofits stay on track

Horizon Philanthropic is expanding its portfolio of services to assist Sussex County nonprofits during the health and financial crises caused by COVID-19.

The organization will offer organizational management, accounting, fund development and communications services.  A comprehensive list of services can be found here.

Horizon currently manages the operations of the Greater Lewes Foundation, and staff associates oversee the Sussex County Land Trust and the Fort Miles Historical Association. The company has  a history of providing support to regional non-profits for over 20 years.

Non-profit staff and board members interested in discussing outsourcing options can call Horizon at 302-644-0107 or email via tcolegrove@horizonphilanthropic.org.


March 31, 2 p.m.

EastSide Charter provides a computer too all students for Distance Learning Program 

In order to guarantee access to their Distance Learning curriculum to all of their 426 students, EastSide Charter will begin distributing computers to each student who does not have one at their home.

While some computers will be provided from EastSide’s inventory of computers, additional devices were purchased using funds generated in part through numerous contributions made to EastSide  on the DELAWAREGIVES fundraising platform. 

Through this effort kids can quickly join in on EastSide’s innovative Distance Learning programming consisting of fun and effective scholastic lessons designed to keep kids engaged during these stay-at-home times. 


March 31, 10:45 a.m.

Sen. Coons: U.S. must update, expand domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) highlighted the need to update and expand domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity to confront COVID-19, and safeguard against future pandemics. To aid in this endeavor, $3.5 billion has been set aside in the relief package signed by the President last week for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

The funding Sen. Coons secured will support the demonstration of next-generation manufacturing platforms so they can be quickly deployed in these facilities, thereby facilitating rapid production, and will also be used to purchase and manufacture vaccines and diagnostics.

In addition to securing funding for BARDA, Sen. Coons led a bipartisan, bicameral effort to prevent Manufacturing Extension Partnership, or MEP, centers from shuttering and to make sure they are used as a resource during the pandemic.


March 31 10:30 a.m.

600K protective masks to arrive in Delaware 

At about 11:00 a.m., a truck carrying approximately 600,000 ear-loop face masks are scheduled to arrive at the D&S Warehouse in Newark.

Today’s delivery is one of four shipments of protective masks, with future shipments of N95 protective masks, COVID-19 test kits, isolation gowns, face shields, goggles, and respirators delivering in the coming weeks.

All products, which are FDA approved, are reportedly checked upon arrival for quality control.


March 30 9:30 p.m.

Governor Announces Changes / Closures to Child Care Centers for Non-Essential Workers
Gov. Carney has again modified his State of Emergency declaration, which establishes child care sites for essential workers. Effective April 6, child care may only be provided by child care centers and child care homes that have been designated as “Emergency Child Care Sites” by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF).
Child care centers and homes must certify that they are only providing child care to children of personnel working for essential businesses, as defined under the State of Emergency declaration, and cannot work from home.
Governor Carney also declared state buildings and essential businesses that Delaware’s Public Health Authority deems high-risk to screen every employee, visitor and member of the public upon entering.

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