DPH Announces Additional Presumptive Positive Cases of Coronavirus Disease

DOVER (March 12, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing three additional presumptive positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). All three individuals are under the age of 30 and are associated with the University of Delaware community.

The individuals are not severely ill and are currently self-isolated at home. The individuals were exposed to the same confirmed case of COVID-19 in another state as the first Delaware case. Epidemiologists from the Division of Public Health are working with the patients to identify any close contacts of these individuals who were possibly exposed. If other people are found to have possibly been exposed, state health officials will provide guidance to these individuals and monitor them closely for the development of symptoms.

DPH will not be disclosing additional information about the individuals.

“We understand that news of additional cases is concerning to students, staff, and families in the University of Delaware community,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “However, DPH is working closely with the administration at the University of Delaware on their coronavirus disease response.”

DPH has issued the following guidance for the University of Delaware community:

  • Close contacts of these individuals, whether or not they have symptoms of illness including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, may return home during University of Delaware’s spring break. These individuals may not use public transportation to get home. They will need to remain home for at least 14 days after last contact with positive cases.
  • Individuals who did not have contact with these individuals can return home and go about their daily lives. They should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and contact their primary contact provider if symptoms appear.

Students, faculty, and staff who have general questions about the University of Delaware’s response to COVID-19 can contact the University of Delaware’s Call Center at (302) 831-1188 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Families who have concerns are encouraged to contact their family care provider to discuss the possibility of testing if symptoms appear.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are most similar to lower respiratory infections with patients having fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 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.

In Delaware, DPH has tested 41 individuals for COVID-19, including the individuals who tested positive for the disease. A total of 23 tests returned negative results, and 14 persons under investigation are awaiting test results.

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 available at both the Delaware Public Health Lab as well as certain commercial labs. Medical providers should evaluate patients and rule out other causes of illness first before recommending testing for COVID-19. While testing for the disease at the Public Health Lab requires DPH approval, providers do not need DPH approval to submit test samples at a commercial lab. With several commercial labs now having lab testing available, Delaware has enough capacity to accommodate testing. Providers only need to collect mouth and nose swabs as they would for flu to submit samples for testing at either venue. Commercial labs are required to report testing and results to DPH.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or TTY at 1-800-232-5460 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For more information, visit de.gov/coronavirus.