Delaware Public Health Announces 1 Additional Death, 25 Additional Positive Cases

SMYRNA (April 2, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing one additional fatality related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and is providing an update on the number of positive and recovered cases reported in the state.

In total, 12 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. There have been a total of six deaths related to long-term care facilities, including five in New Castle County (four at Little Sisters of the Poor) and one in Sussex County. The most recent details involving long-term care facilities include:

  • a 75-year-old male from New Castle County who had underlying health conditions before passing; and
  • The third outbreak of positive coronavirus cases at a long-term care facility. The latest outbreak involves the Governor Bacon Health System, an intermediate-skilled nursing facility operated by Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in Delaware City, which has one staff member and one resident who have tested positive for COVID-19.

To protect personal health information, DPH will not disclose additional information about the individuals who passed away, nor will DPH confirm specific information about any individual case, even if other persons or entities disclose it independently.

The latest Delaware COVID-19 case statistics, cumulatively since March 11, include:

  • 393 total laboratory-confirmed cases
  • New Castle County cases: 245
  • Kent County cases: 43
  • Sussex County cases: 105
  • Males: 179; Females: 214
  • Age range: 1 to 97
  • Hospitalized: 56; Critically ill: 15
  • Delawareans recovered: 49
  • 4,566 negative cases*

*Data on negative cases are preliminary, based on negative results reported to DPH by state and commercial laboratories performing analysis.

Delaware is considering patients fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self-isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine.

If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle fatigue, or digestive symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite. If you are sick and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy to get what you need.

If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, make sure to distance yourself from others, particularly vulnerable populations. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions – including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment – might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Statewide testing at standing health facility testing sites require a physician’s order or prescription to be tested (*Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first). These are not walk-in testing sites. Those without a primary care provider can call the DPH Call Center Line at 1-866-408-1899. Individuals awaiting test results, should wait to hear back from their medical provider. The DPH Call Center does not have test results.

Delawareans with general 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 711 for individuals who are hearing-impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.


Drug Investigation Leads to Man Wanted For Shooting

Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Anderson secured a guilty plea and prison sentence for a man wanted for a shooting in Seaford, arrested while police were investigating illegal drug activity in Bridgeville. Teron West, 33, of Seaford, was arrested in July 2019, when members of the Delaware State Police Sussex County Governor’s Task Force executed a search warrant at a home in the 200 block of Main Street in Bridgeville. Police found West, who provided them with a false name, and also discovered large quantities of drugs, including more than 50 grams of cocaine. Once getting his proper identification, officers learned West had been on the run since the previous November when he fired several shots at the vehicle of a man he was fighting with on Park Drive in Seaford. West, barred from having a gun because of prior felony drug convictions, pleaded guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Drug Dealing, and Criminal Impersonation. A Superior Court judge sentenced West to 18 months in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 1 year of probation.


Prison Sentence for Rape of Teenager

Wilmington man sentenced for assault under I-95

Deputy Attorney General Monil Amin secured a 10-year prison sentence for a man who raped and impregnated a teenager with developmental disabilities. In June 2018, Britt Bowen, 45, of Newark sexually assaulted the victim while in his care. Bowen was arrested after DNA evidence revealed him to be the father. In August 2019, Bowen pleaded guilty to Rape Second Degree. A Superior Court judge sentenced Bowen to 10 years in prison, including completion of the Transitions sex offender program, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 3 years of probation. Bowen must also register as a Tier 3 sex offender. DOJ social worker Lisa Rapko assisted with the case.

A 57-year-old Wilmington man who cut another man’s chest with a box cutter was sentenced to time in prison. Juan Rojas was sentenced in connection with the 2018 assault of a homeless man in the city. In August 2018, Rojas, the victim, and two other people were drinking under the I-95 overpass at Maryland Avenue and Liberty Street when the victim confronted Rojas about inappropriately touching a woman who was with them. As the two argued, Rojas cut the victim from his neck down to his stomach causing an 18-inch long wound. In May 2019, Rojas pleaded guilty to Assault First Degree and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a Felony. A Superior Court judge sentenced Rojas, who has 2 previous felony assault convictions on his record, to 12 years in prison followed by 3 years of probation. Deputy Attorneys General Monil Amin and Renee Hrivnak prosecuted the case.


Dover Man Convicted in Rape and Assault Case

Wilmington shooting leads to prison time

A 35-year-old Dover man has been convicted for sexually assaulting and beating his girlfriend. A Superior Court jury found Isaac Pierce guilty of Rape First Degree, Kidnapping First Degree, Strangulation, Assault Third Degree, and Terroristic Threatening. In September 2018, while arguing with the victim, Pierce beat, strangled, and raped the woman while holding her against her will. Pierce faces a minimum of 17 years in prison when sentenced by a judge in February 2020. Deputy Attorneys General Kathleen Dickerson and Kevin Smith prosecuted the case with assistance from social worker Lorraine Freese and special investigator Lavincent Harris. Detective Jeffrey Gott of the Dover Police Department led the investigation.

A 2018 shooting that left two men seriously injured has led to a 10-year prison sentence for the man who shot them. Deputy Attorneys General William Leonard and Jillian Schroeder secured the sentenced for Jameel Anderson, 38, of Wilmington. In November 2018, Wilmington Police on patrol in the city heard what they believed were gunshots. A ShotSpotter notification led them to the area of 23rd and Jessup Streets where they found a man with multiple gunshot wounds. Other officers on their way to the scene were stopped by another man at the intersection of Vandever Avenue and North Pine Street who told officers he had just been shot. Anderson pleaded guilty in October to 2 counts of Assault Second Degree and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. A Superior Court judge sentenced Anderson to 10 years in prison, followed by 2 years of probation. Paralegal Caitlin Lynam and social worker Kristen Fluharty-Emory assisted with the prosecution. Detective Steve Bender from the Wilmington Police Department was the chief investigating officer.


Woman Who Started Blaze That Killed Firefighters Sentenced to 30 Years In Prison

Guilty plea to murder in Dover killing; Change in state’s securities act leads to guilty plea to theft and identity theft

Beatriz Fana-Ruiz, the woman who set fire to the home where she lived leading to the deaths of 3 Wilmington firefighters has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Deputy Attorneys General Barzilai Axelrod and John Downs secured the sentence for Fana-Ruiz, 30 years old. In September 2016, Fana-Ruiz, angry about her living situation and unhappy with her life, set a fire in the basement of the home where she was staying in the 1900 block of Lakeview Road in the Canby Park section of Wilmington. The fire quickly spread into the ceiling and weakened the floor joists. Lt. Christopher Leach, Senior Firefighter Ardythe Hope died as a result of injuries they sustained when the first floor collapsed causing them to fall into the burning basement. Firefighter Brad Speakman was also seriously injured when he also fell into the basement. Senior/Firefighter Jerry Fickes was killed as he tried to pull Lt. Leach from the fire and another portion of the ceiling collapsed onto him. In August 2019, Fana-Ruiz pleaded guilty to Murder Second Degree, Arson First Degree, and Assault First Degree. A Superior Court Judge sentenced Fana-Ruiz to 30 years in prison, followed by 2 ½ years probation. Additionally, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has filed a detainer against Fana-Ruiz, seeking her deportation to her home country of the Dominican Republic when released from custody in Delaware. Special Agent Lisa Herb, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) provided essential investigative and expert analysis in determining the cause and origin of the fire and in interviewing Fana-Ruiz and obtaining her confession. Det. Joe Bucksner of the Wilmington Police Department was the lead investigator for the murder component of the case. DOJ paralegal Jaime Prater assisted with the prosecution, and social workers Kristin Fluharty-Emory, Donna Lindsay and Jenn Kutney worked with the victims and victim’s families to provide counsel and guidance through this case that lasted over 3 years.

Attorney General Kathleen Jennings made the following comment on the sentence for Fana-Ruiz: “This horrific tragedy reminds us of the danger Delaware’s first responders knowingly and willingly put themselves in every day to protect us. I thank our prosecution team and those who investigated the case, but most importantly I continue to extend my and DOJ’s sympathies to the families and friends of the firefighters who were killed and injured, as well as to the still grieving Wilmington Fire Department.”

A 20-year-old Camden man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty for his role in a Dover murder. In May 2018, Eugene Riley, along with another man, Ahmir Bailey, 21, of Lincoln, began arguing with 20-year-old Jameir Vann-Robinson, of Smyrna, as Vann-Robinson and a friend left a house party on Mitscher Road. The argument led to Riley and Bailey both firing several shots at Vann-Robinson, with Bailey fatally striking him in the back. Riley pleaded guilty to Murder Second Degree and was immediately sentenced by a Superior Court judge to 15 years in prison, followed by work release and probation. Bailey was convicted by a jury in October of 2018 of Murder First Degree, Attempted Murder First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, Shoplifting, and Conspiracy Third Degree. A Superior Court judge also found Bailey guilty of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited and Possession of Ammunition by a Person Prohibited. Bailey faces mandatory life in prison when sentenced in January of next year. Deputy Attorneys General Greg Babowal and Kevin Smith prosecuted the case. The investigation was led by Detective Schmid of the Dover Police Department.

Thanks to a change in the Delaware Securities Act designed to protect the state’s vulnerable populations, a Newark woman was prosecuted for stealing from her mother. For a period of a year and a half beginning in July 2017, Karen Warrington, 50, impersonated her mother and stole money from her mother’s investment accounts. Warrington pleaded guilty to Theft of $50,000 or More and 1 count of Identity Theft. Deputy Attorney General William Green prosecuted the case with assistance from special investigator Craig Weldon. Detective Christopher Rau of the New Castle Police Department was the chief investigating officer. This plea agreement is the first to result from a Report of Suspected Exploitation of a Senior or Vulnerable Adult submitted to the Department of Justice Investor Protection Unit by a financial institution pursuant to Section 73-307 of the Delaware Securities Act, which was amended in 2018 to make such reporting mandatory. A Superior Court judge will sentence Warrington in March 2020.