1,761 COVID-19 cases in Delaware; death toll jumps to 41

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced six additional fatalities related tothe coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 41.

Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 33to 96 years old.

To date, 1,761 cases have been confirmed in the state.

COVID-19 INSIDE PRISON

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."

KEEPING NEIGHBORS INFORMED

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.

MASK GUIDANCE

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.

ANTIBODIES

The blood bank of Delmarva is collecting plasma, from recovered coronavirus patients.

The hope is that antibodies in the plasma will help severely ill patients.

If this is successful, the blood bank, based in Newark, is ready to expand its process, to help patients nationwide.

To donate, someone would need to be symptom-free for at least 14 days.

DELAWARE OPENS TEMPORARY HOSPITALS

Delaware is preparing for the number of cases to rise.

The state is setting up multiple alternative care sites to help alleviate the stress on hospitals.

A gym at Nemours Hospital for Children in Wilmington is now a mini-hospital.

Nurses and members of the National Guard went through orientation there Tuesday.

The Governor Bacon Health Center in Delaware City, a long-term care facility, is also being switched over to care for additional patients.

These sites will not treat anyone suffering from coronavirus.

SHORT-TERM RENTAL BAN

Delaware has banned all short-term rentals, including vacation home rentals, hotels, motels and condo rentals - to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Commercial lodging in Delaware will remain closed through May 15, or until the public health threat is eliminated.

The order issued by Gov. John Carney exempts certain Delawareans and essential workers who may need access to short-term rental units.

That list of exemptions includes caretakers with family members nearby, health care providers, journalists, and Delawareans with public housing vouchers.

Victims of domestic violence who need alternative shelter also are exempted.

DELAWARE CALL CENTERS

The Delaware Division of Public Health is starting a new collaboration with the United Way of Delaware to increase call center services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Beginning Monday, all calls related to social services, essential businesses, unemployment and stay at home related calls should now go to Delaware 211.

Operators will be available 7 days a week.

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Delaware opens various hotlines for questions surrounding COVID-19



Medical and testing-related calls should go to the Division of Public Health's call center.

They can be reached at 866-408-1899 and will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

DELAWARE DISASTER DECLARATION

President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for the State of Delaware.

The president's action makes federal funding available to Delaware and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for all areas in the state impacted by COVID-19.

DRIVING FROM OUT OF STATE

A modification to Governor John Carney's State of Emergency Declaration due to the coronavirus outbreak now gives troopers in Delaware the authority to pull over out-of-state drivers.

Delaware State Police say Carney's order "authorizes any Delaware law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle driving within the state simply because it is displaying out-of-state tags."
This authorization does not apply to vehicles traveling on I-95, I-295, or I-495.

During the stop, troopers may ask limited questions related to the driver's recent travel.

The driver will be advised that if they are coming into Delaware from out-of-state, they are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Delaware or immediately return to their home state, according to a news release.

Troopers will be monitoring non-interstate roadways which have been identified as having a large volume of out of state travelers, authorities said.
There are limited exceptions that allow for out-of-state persons and vehicles to enter Delaware without being required to self-quarantine, including:
  • Motorists may pass through Delaware en-route to other states.

  • Motorists may leave their home state (PA, NJ, MD, etc.) to work for a Delaware designated essential business, to care for a family member in Delaware, or for healthcare reasons (pharmacy, going to vet, visiting PCP) in Delaware.

  • Out-of-state employees who work for an essential business in Delaware but who could otherwise do their work from home should remain home.


Out-of-state visitors who fail to self-quarantine could face criminal charges, officials said.

NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES

Click here for a full list of essential and non-essential businesses, as defined by the governor's order.



The orders will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.
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