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Delaware doubles number of positive coronavirus cases to 16

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Beebe Healthcare screened more than 245 people for coronavirus at a March 14 event in Lewes. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BEEBE

A ChristianaCare Health System drive-thru testing site on  March 13 contributed to a doubling of positive coronavirus cases to 16, including the first reported instance in Sussex County.

Seven of the eight new cases are from New Castle County, including six who were tested at the ChristianaCare event at the Wilmington Riverfront.

One of the patients is a staff member at EastSide Charter School in Wilmington, school officials said Tuesday night. Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki also announced Tuesday night that one of the patients is a city employee in the Department of Public Works.

It is not clear how many of the 536 samples that ChristianaCare collected have been tested. In addition, Beebe Healthcare held a mobile screening event on March 14, where it collected 245 samples.

The Delaware Department of Public Health (DPH) is investigating the source of exposure for the New Castle County cases. All but one are self-isolating at home —  including the EastSide Charter employee — while one New Castle County resident is hospitalized — the state’s first case of that severity. DPH said the Sussex County resident was exposed through travel.

DPH officials said it does not all have the results of hospital tests, but all positive results will be reported to public health officials.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to lower respiratory infections with patients having fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection at this time. While in some cases illnesses can be severe and require hospitalization, many individuals infected with COVID-19 recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids and taking pain, and fever-reducing medications.

Testing for coronavirus disease is not recommended for individuals who do not have any symptoms of illness. For individuals who have symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) testing is being run at both the DPH lab as well as commercial labs. Medical providers should evaluate patients and rule out other causes of illness first before recommending testing for COVID-19.

DPH said it will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For more information, visit de.gov/coronavirus or call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899.

By Katie Tabeling

[email protected]

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