Delaware deals with unemployment surge as state weighs reopening process

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Delaware unemployment numbers are breaking records as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The state is paying out $30 million in unemployment per week, compared to a typical rate of $1.3 million per week.

"In less than a month we have received 61,842 unemployment claims, which is almost what we've received in the last two years," says Cereon Cade, the Delaware Labor Secretary.

There are thousands of Delawareans out of work. They're struggling, wondering when the economy and business will reopen.

The CDC has outlined requirements to do so including 14 consecutive days of lower infection numbers and widespread testing.

Cases are declining. The state of Delaware reports 2,931 total coronavirus cases, 82 deaths and 565 people have recovered.

But there is no set date on starting the re-opening process without more testing.

"The simple reality is that most states don't have testing capacity right now and the states are in competition to get the supplies," says Governor John Carney.

On Tuesday afternoon in Wilmington, residents with an ID could walk or drive up to P.S. DuPont Middle School to be tested for COVID-19 for free.

There were long lines for residents to receive one of the 800 surgical masks being handed out by city leaders.

"We're struggling just to stay alive. I've been wearing this (mask) for 3 weeks. I'm going to stand in line just to get one new one. I don't care. I need what's going to save me and protect me," says Ralph Kilson of Wilmington.

The food bank of Delaware providing fresh produce and canned goods. In Wilmington, there is a focus on remembering those who were already struggling before the coronavirus pandemic.

"There are people here in the community who don't have cars to pick up food, who don't have access to drive in for testing - we need to make provisions so that part of the community can do that," said City Council President Hanifa Shabazz.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.