Governor hints at new restrictions
Less than a month after the lifting of the state of emergency imposed on Delaware that had dictated public behavior for more than a year, Gov. John Carney said he was considering further emergency measures now that the number of COVID-19 cases has started to rise again.
“We have to protect everyone. The question is, what kind of authority do we have to impose these demands, ”he said on August 5. “We are looking at other emergency powers the state has with respect to universal masking and schools.
The problem is the Delta variant of COVID-19 which has surged across the country and now accounts for 51% of Delaware’s variant cases – 53 cases in total. In the January outbreak, the maximum number of hospitalizations in Delaware was 475. “Even at 475, we still had plenty of headroom,” Carney said, referring to the capacity of the hospital.
Dr Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, said Delaware had lowered its level of concern to 100 cases per 100,000, and using this new setting, she said, the county areas of West Sussex, including Georgetown and Lincoln, have some of the highest rates in the state.
“Obviously West Sussex is a hot spot in our state,” she said. “This is also an area of our state where we have the lowest vaccination rates. So we’re watching this very closely, but it’s certainly a concern. “
On trade restrictions, Carney said, he doesn’t want to go back to the closures that shut down many businesses in 2020, but he needs to take public health into account.
“Individual companies make decisions… we will also look at this as an employer,” he said. “We don’t want to restrict our activities in a way that will hurt them financially again. “
According to Delaware statistics, young people in the 18-34 age group have the lowest vaccination rate. Rattay said those who are not vaccinated should get tested once a week and should wear a mask in public. “You have a responsibility,” she said.
Those who are vaccinated and show symptoms of COVID should get tested, she said, and wear a mask for two weeks or until their test result is negative.
“It’s a real fear. The fact that we now have a lot of this virus circulating means that there are a lot more opportunities for mutation, ”said Rattay. “This is one of the reasons why it is so essential to increase our vaccination rates. We must do all we can to increase our number of vaccines even further. ”
Updated guidelines on unvaccinated
Delaware updated its guidelines on August 3, recommending that unvaccinated people get tested five to seven days after exposure to COVID, and immediately self-isolate at home if they are exposed to or develop COVID. symptoms.
Cases of COVID-19 steadily increased in Delaware in July. A new number of cases of over 100 per day have been reported in the past five days.
Officials said infections only occur in a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated. When these infections occur in people who have been vaccinated, they tend to be mild. With the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state and nation, and the majority of cases occurring in unvaccinated people, officials said, all Delawarens aged 12 and over should get vaccinated. they have not already received their COVID-19 vaccine.
The Delawarens continue to have a variety of testing options. A full list of locations and testing options is available at de.gov/gettested.
Fixed test locations
The tests are available as part of the state program at several Walgreens locations. Walgreens will withdraw testing in some of its stores with lower volume and refocus its efforts in areas of high social vulnerability. In addition, 30 Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and Health Mart pharmacies statewide will offer testing as part of a new federal program focused on areas of high social vulnerability. Testing at state-run sites and federal program sites is free. Other pharmacies and medical provider sites offer tests but may charge for them; it is advisable to contact the site for more details.
DPH also announced that it has been offering testing at its static vaccination sites since August 4. Locations include Georgetown Plaza Shopping Center, 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, with hours of 8:30 am to 11:30 am and 1:15 pm to 4:00 pm, Monday and Wednesday; and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday.
DPH and DEMA continue their partnership with Curative to offer free COVID-19 testing both at static sites and at hubs statewide. Visit de.gov/gettested for locations.
Currently, home testing is offered for free through a partnership with Vault, as well as a new partnership with LabCorp which supports testing for symptomatic or high-risk people.
Libraries offer rapid test kits
DPH announced on August 3 a new partnership with Delaware Libraries allowing Delawares to visit most libraries and pick up a quick test kit to take home in case they or a family member needs it. Library cards are not required to pick up a take-out test kit. Authorities are asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to go to one of the other fixed or community testing locations, not the library.
All schools and preschools across the state can now take advantage of free rapid antigen testing for staff and students. DPH and the Delaware Department of Education recently announced this opportunity through a contract with Quidel Corporation. Quidel provides staff for testing, analysis and reporting, relieving schools of the burden. Routine testing is a key strategy recommended by the CDC and reinforced in its recent guidelines for schools and daycares. More information about this program and how schools can apply is available here.