Delaware announces strict guidelines to prevent COVID-19 in nursing, long-term care facilities

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- There are now stricter guidelines to prevent COVID-19 infections in nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities in Delaware, Governor John Carney announced Wednesday.

"Our elderly populations, and especially Delawareans in long-term care facilities, are at very high risk for COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. These stricter measures that we're issuing today are intended to save lives," Carney said.

Carney's order requires all nursing facilities in Delaware to immediately:

  • Establish a cohort of staff who are assigned to care for known or suspected COVID-19 residents.

  • Designate a room, unit, or floor of the nursing facility as a separate observation area where newly-admitted and re-admitted residents are kept for 14 days on, while being observed every shift for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Designate a room, unit, or floor of the nursing facility to care for residents with known or suspected COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. extended the judicial emergency he declared on March 14 because of the coronavirus epidemic until May 14.

The move comes after Gov. John Carney last week extended a state-of-emergency declaration he had issued March 12.

As of Tuesday, state officials had reported 2,014 cases of the coronavirus and 46 deaths.

More than 200 people were hospitalized as of Tuesday. That's less than half the number officials predicted last week.


The Delaware Department of Correction says a total of 12 correctional officers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The latest case is a correctional officer assigned to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. The correctional officer was last on duty on seven days ago - on April 6, when the officer was assigned to supervise an inmate at an area hospital.

"DOC Officers are actively supporting and following our aggressive screening and monitoring policies to help guard against the risk of transmission of COVID-19," Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said. "Individually as corrections professionals, and together as a Department, the DOC continues to take necessary steps every day to protect the health and safety of our Officers, healthcare workers, other employees, and inmates."


Governor John Carney announced a partnership with the social network Nextdoor to keep Delawareans informed on the neighborhood level.

"This partnership with Nextdoor will really allow us to reach Delawareans at a neighborhood level, and make sure Delaware families are receiving good information throughout this crisis," said Governor Carney.

Carney also issued another call to action for those with experience in health care and child care. Anyone who may have interest in volunteering to help should visit the state's website.


The Division of Public Health recommended that Delawareans should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Those settings include grocery stores and pharmacies.
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