COVID-19 Daily Briefing 4/24
Gov. Carney closes schools for remainder of academic year
Gov. John Carney announced at his Friday, April 24, press conference that the state has decided to close schools for the remainder of the academic year. He noted that remote learning, which went into effect earlier this month, will continue through the end of the academic year.
In a statement released afterward, Carney said:
“We made the difficult decision today – in consultation with superintendents across our state – to close schools through the rest of the academic year. I know this will be difficult for a lot of Delawareans, and Delaware students. Nothing replaces in-person instruction, and the services that are delivered in our schools every day, but the health and safety of Delawareans is our first priority.
“I am confident that school leaders and educators across our state will continue to lean into remote instruction for the rest of this academic year. Our schools also have done a tremendous job delivering meals to students in their communities. That work will also continue. I want to thank all of our educators, students, school leaders and families for their work during this difficult time.”
Delaware COVID-19 deaths reach 100, as 134 new cases are identified
DPH releases demographic data for first time
SMYRNA – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing eight additional fatalities related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is providing an update on the number of positive cases and recovered individuals. All data reported through the daily updates are based on data received as of 6 p.m. the previous day.
In total,100 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 32 to 103 years old.
The most recent deaths all involve individuals with underlying health conditions, including:
- 58-year-old female from New Castle County, hospitalized long-term care resident
- 69-year-old male from New Castle County, hospitalized
- 71-year-old male from New Castle County, hospitalized
- 96-year-old female from New Castle County, long-term care facility
- 102-year-old male from New Castle County, long-term care facility
- 54-year-old female from Sussex County, long-term care facility
- 79-year-old female from Sussex County, hospitalized
- 87-year-old male from Sussex County, hospitalized
The latest Delaware COVID-19 case statistics cumulatively since March 11, provided as of 6 p.m., Thursday, April 23, include:
- 3,442 total laboratory-confirmed cases
- New Castle County cases: 1,486
- Kent County cases: 558
- Sussex County cases: 1,394
- Unknown County: 4
- Males: 1,557; Females: 1,879; Unknown: 6
- Age range: 0 to 103
- Currently hospitalized: 277; Critically ill: 63 (This data represents individuals currently hospitalized in a Delaware hospital regardless of residence, and is not cumulative.)
- Delawareans recovered: 703
- 13,937 negative cases*
Beginning today, additional demographic data on COVID-19 cases and deaths, including race/ethnicity, more age-specific data and rate information by ZIP code, can be found on the Division of Public Health’s My Healthy Community data portal. The COVID-19 data on My Healthy Community will supplement, not replace, the daily case data displayed on de.gov/coronavirus.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday, there have been 244 positive COVID-19 cases involving residents of long-term care facilities in Delaware. Fifty-nine residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.
Delaware hospitals work together in state’s COVID-19 response
DOVER – Delaware hospitals are working together and with partners in the state to ensure a coordinated, statewide response to COVID-19. In a uniquely Delaware approach, Delaware hospital representatives are in daily communication with each other and with state officials to ensure adequate capacity, testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and additional resources are available to meet Delaware’s COVID-19 needs.
Delaware’s hospitals report daily to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Division of Public Health (DPH) on hospital capacity, including bed occupancy. Plans are in place to provide care for patients as our COVID-19 surge occurs. For example, when a surge occurs in one area of the state, such as the recent COVID-19 surge experienced at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, patients can be transferred to other local hospitals that have additional capacity. If a surge occurs across multiple hospitals in our state, alternate care sites have been identified to take on existing patients and mitigate an overflow.
Testing is also an area of collaboration between Delaware hospitals and DPH. Each health care system has set up testing sites covering each county of the state, from a Beebe Healthcare site in the south part of the state to a Saint Francis Healthcare site up north in Wilmington, and several in between. State epidemiologists have been able to identify areas of our state that have higher incidence of COVID-19. With this information, ChristianaCare created mobile testing sites in sections of Wilmington and New Castle that are at higher COVID-19 risk. ChristianaCare is also developing innovative sites of care in underserved communities, including one at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, that provide access to virtual primary care and testing with multilingual support. In addition, after learning of higher incidence of COVID-19 in Georgetown, Milford, and Millsboro, and particularly in employees of Delaware’s poultry processing plants, Delaware hospitals teamed up with DPH to implement testing in these high-risk areas. For example, using supplies provided by DPH, Bayhealth deployed dozens of staff members to a local poultry plant this week to provide screening and testing, while ChristianaCare provided a mobile testing site in Georgetown on April 22 with comprehensive bilingual support. In addition, Beebe Healthcare, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and ChristianaCare are all involved in this statewide community and targeted testing approach aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping more Delawareans healthy.
Personal protective equipment is another area of constant communication between Delaware hospitals and state officials. Delaware hospitals report regularly on their supplies of N95 masks, protective gowns and other supplies. These needs can change from hospital to hospital, and from week to week, which is why this collaboration is so important — allowing resources to be shifted and targeted where there is a need. For example, one of our Sussex hospitals recently needed additional isolation gowns for employees caring for COVID-19 patients and ChristianaCare was able to step in and fulfill their request.
Gov. Carney removes restrictions on out-of-state health care workers to assist in COVID-19 response
WILMINGTON – Gov. John Carney on Thursday issued the 12th modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which will allow the Public Health Authority to activate more out-of-state health care workers to assist in Delaware’s fight against COVID-19.
Subject to certain restrictions, the modified declaration allows individuals who previously held a license to practice medicine in any United States jurisdiction, to provide health care services on a volunteer basis in Delaware when authorized by the Public Health Authority. The provider must be appropriately trained, and their license must have been in good standing for a five-year period before it expired or lapsed.
The modification also limits restrictions on pharmacists, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, paramedics, emergency medical technician, and nurses, allowing them to assist in Delaware’s response to COVID-19 under all the same conditions.
Out-of-state providers must register with the Medical Reserve Corps to volunteer in Delaware.
“Delaware’s fight against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Gov. Carney in a statement. “We owe a real debt of gratitude to our front line health care workers and emergency responders. They have been risking their own health and safety to protect Delawareans and save lives. This updated declaration will allow even more health care workers to assist in Delaware’s response. Our message for Delawareans remains the same. Stay home unless you need to go out for essential work or an essential items like groceries, or a prescription. Going out in public unnecessarily not only increases your risk, but it increases the risk for your family, friends, and neighbors. We’ll get through this by working together.”
The modification Governor Carney signed on Thursday afternoon also facilitates the issuance of marriage licenses by allowing the parties to communicate by video conference. And it allows state agencies and members of the public additional time to consider rules and regulations, giving agencies discretion to extend public comment periods for 30 days from the date the State of Emergency is rescinded.