Del. COVID-19 cases total 8 with non-UD related case
State officials confirmed three more coronavirus cases over the weekend and one on Monday, raising the total to eight, with one patient being a staff member of U.S. Sen. Tom Carper’s office.
The staffer is a Delaware-based woman under 30 years old, who is self-quarantined and not severely ill, according to state health officials and Carper’s office. She also reportedly has ties to the University of Delaware community, although the source of her exposure is still under investigation.
Carper’s office reported that she has not been in contact with the senator since she began showing symptoms, nor has she been to Carper’s Washington, D.C., office, but office staff who have been in contact with her will be self-isolating for 14 days.
On Saturday, the Delaware Department of Public Health (DPH) announced two cases linked to the initial four cases, which included UD grad students and faculty members who were in contact at an off-campus party. The two cases included a woman older than 50 and a man older than 60, both from New Castle County, who are self-isolating at home.
On Monday afternoon, the DPH announced another case when a New Castle County woman tested positive. The woman, over the age of 50, was exposed to a positive case in another state — she is believe to be the first case in Delaware not connected to UD. She is not seriously ill and currently self-isolated at home.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is no longer requiring presumptive positive results to go through CDC for confirmatory testing, meaning all state-level tests are now considered confirmed.
“Because of the nature of this disease, we know that we are going to continue to see an increased number of cases in Delaware,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of DPH, in a Sunday statement. “With the amount of test samples that health care systems and providers across the state are submitting to the Delaware Public Health Lab and to commercial labs, the numbers of patients being tested have increased significantly. We want to make sure that we are giving the most accurate information to the public, so going forward we will only be releasing the number of positive cases in Delaware.”
The number of cases may rise again in coming days, as state officials are awaiting the results of hundreds of swab screens taken from individuals in drive-thru events hosed by ChristianaCare in Wilmington and Beebe Healthcare in Lewes last week. ChristianaCare reported that 536 people, which included Delaware residents along with reported Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents, were swabbed Friday for testing after the reported mild symptoms. Similarly, Beebe reported more than 245 people being screened at its Saturday event.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are most 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 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 Jacob Owens