Governor Carney Nominates Kevin O’Connell as Chief Defender for the State of Delaware

O’Connell would replace Brendan O’Neill who retires May 31

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday nominated Kevin O’Connell to serve as the next Chief Defender for the State of Delaware, leading the Delaware Office of Defense Services (ODS). The Delaware Senate is expected to consider his nomination next week.

“Kevin has the experience, character, and commitment to justice for all Delawareans that is so critical for a public defender,” said Governor Carney. “I’m confident he will be a strong leader of the Office of Defense Services and continue to provide important legal services for those who need it most. I look forward to the Delaware Senate considering his nomination.”

O’Connell has more than 30 years of experience representing indigent criminal clients. He has been with the ODS since 2005, most recently as the head of the New Castle County Division and head of the office’s Superior Court Unit. Prior to that, O’Connell was in private practice. O’Connell is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a founding member of the Delaware Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Widener University Delaware Law School.

“I am humbled and honored by my nomination, and I am thankful to Governor Carney for his trust and support. Public defenders are on the front lines of the criminal justice system, and my goal is to continue the tradition of supporting ODS employees in their mission to provide unmatched criminal defense representation for their clients,” said Kevin O’Connell. “Under Brendan’s leadership, the ODS has taken tremendous steps to advance indigent defense and I am committed to continuing that work by further promoting a model of holistic defense and by combating systemic racism in the Courts and elsewhere.”

O’Connell would replace Brendan O’Neill, who will retire on May 31, 2021. O’Neill was first appointed by former Governor Jack Markell in 2009.

“Kevin is the epitome of a public defender. He has been in the trenches advocating for clients in the courtroom, but also as an administrative leader providing a keen listening ear to ensure the staff of the ODS are supported in their day-to-day lives. I know the Office will be in talented and capable hands,” said Chief Defender Brendan O’Neill. “I’m excited to see the future of the Office of Defense Services for not just our staff, but also our clients.”

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Gouvènè Carney, DPH Anonse Chanjman Majè nan Restriksyon COVID-19 yo

Apati 21 me, pifò restriksyon sou kapasite yo anile; Moun Delaware yo dwe swiv direktiv CDC yo konsènan mask lè yo deyò; pi gwo evènman egzije toujou pou gen apwobasyon plan an nan DPH

WILMINGTON, Del. — Gouvènè John Carney ak Divizyon Sante Piblik Delaware (Division of Public Health, DPH) te anonse nan Madi a chanjman majè ki pral genyen nan restriksyon Delaware yo pou COVID-19.

Aplikab apati Vandredi 21 Me:

  • Tout restriksyon sou kapasite anndan restoran yo, biznis detayan, lòt etablisman biznis ak lye kilt yo pral anile. Etablisman yo pral kapab itilize tout kantite kapasite egzijans distans sosyal yo pral pèmèt.
  • Mask yo ap nesesè toujou anndan pou anpeche pwopagasyon COVID-19 la.
  • Lè yo deyò, Moun Delaware yo dwe swiv direktiv pou mete mask ki bay nan Sant pou Kontwòl ak Prevansyon Maladi a (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC). Risk pou pwopagasyon COVID-19 la ogmante pami gwo foul moun ki gen ladan moun ki pa te resevwa vaksen an. Nan ka sa yo, CDC rekòmande pou tout moun kontinye mete yon mask. DPH ka egzije mask pou andwa ki gen anpil moun ak pou gwo rasanbleman yo, sa gen ladan konsè, evènman espòtif yo, elatriye.
  • Egzijans distans sosyal yo pral soti nan 6 pye pou vin 3 pye.
  • Kliyan yo dwe kontinye rete chita anndan ak deyò nan ba ak restoran yo, sòf si DPH apwouve yon plan pou pis dans ak lòt zòn yo, epi yo dwe konsève distans omwen 3 pye.
  • Evènman ki gen plis pase 250 moun anndan ak deyò ap egzije toujou pou gen apwobasyon plan an nan DPH pou asire konfòmite avèk prekosyon debaz yo pou anpeche pwopagasyon COVID-19 la.

Chanjman yo pral vin ofisyèl nan yon pwochen modifikasyon òdonans dijans Gouvènè Carney pou COVID-19 la.

Gouvènè Carney deklare, “COVID-19 toujou ap sikile nan kominote nou yo, men nou gen zouti pou anpeche maladi grav ak anpeche moun entène lopital. Pran vaksen. Epi mande zanmi ak fanmi ou si yo te resevwa vaksen yo a. Se pi bon bagay ou ka fè pou pwoteje tèt ou ak pwoteje moun ou renmen yo.”

Jiska Lendi 3 Me, founisè yo nan Delaware te bay 762,869 dòz vaksen pou COVID-19. Plis pase 53 pousan nan Moun Delaware ki gen laj 16 lane oswa plis te resevwa omwen yon piki.

“Nou kontan anpil paske nou rive nan yon pwen nan efò Eta nou an kote nou ka leve restriksyon sa yo, men li enpòtan pou nou sonje efò nou yo pa fini, epi nou poko fini toujou avèk difikilte yo. Pral toujou gen kèk risk pou transmisyon, sitou nan anviwònman ki chaje ak moun yo, avèk varyant ki pi kontajye yo k ap sikile nan gwo nivo nan Eta nou an”, daprè deklarasyon Dok. Karyl Rattay, Direktè Divizyon Sante Piblik la. “Kidonk, annou antre nan pwochen faz nan rekiperasyon sa a antanke moun responsab, mete mask anndan epi pran vaksen an si ou poko pran l.”

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Weekly COVID-19 Update – May 7, 2021: New Daily Cases, Hospitalizations, Deaths All Declining in Delaware

DOVER (May 7, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is providing an update on the most recent statistics related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Delaware, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, May 6, 2021.

A total of 105,775 positive cases of COVID-19 among Delaware residents have been reported to DPH since March 11, 2020. The seven-day average of new positive cases decreased to 196.7 as of Thursday, May 6.

The seven-day average for the percentage of persons who tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, May 6, was 18.1%, a decrease from 21.1% as of Thursday, April 29. DPH publishes both positivity rates – persons tested and total tests conducted – on its COVID-19 data portal. As of Tuesday, May 4, the seven-day average for the percentage of total tests that were positive was 4.1%, a decrease from 5.1% as of Tuesday, April 27. There is a two-day lag for presenting data related to percent of tests that are positive to account for the time delay between the date of the test and the date that DPH receives the test result.

In addition, 115 individuals are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Delaware, down 51 from this time last week. Twelve of the hospitalized persons are critically ill, down three from last week.

A total of 1,629 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. The state reported four additional deaths since last week’s update. The total number of individuals who have died from COVID-19 range in age from younger than 5 to 104 years old. Of those who have died, 816 were female and 813 were male. A total of 809 individuals were from New Castle County, 336 were from Kent County, and 484 were from Sussex County.

Update on COVID-19 Variant Cases in Delaware:

To date, the Division of Public Health has identified the following COVID-19 variants in Delaware through routine surveillance of test specimens. These variants are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest.

Variants of Concern   Variants of Interest
Variant Origin # of Cases Variant Origin # of Cases
B.1.1.7 United Kingdom 432 B.1.525 New York, US 2
B.1.351 South Africa 1 B.1.526 New York, US 195
B.1.427 California, US 9
B.1.526.1 New York, US 18
B.1.429 California, US 11  
P.1 Brazil 15  

 

In aggregate, the cases include 576 adults ranging in age from 18-98, as well as 107 individuals under the age of 18. A total of 528 individuals were from New Castle County, 99 were from Kent County and 56 were from Sussex County.

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory has sequenced 2,039 specimens for COVID-19 variant strains to date, including 221 within the past week.

Virus mutation is common. Public health approach and treatments are currently not any different, but as these variants may be more contagious, it is even more important that individuals remain vigilant and continue taking the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus – wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid gatherings.

For more information regarding CDC variant classifications, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html.

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

As of 12:01 a.m. May 7, a total of 793,148 administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been reported to the state’s immunization information system, DelVAX. A total of 740,640 doses have been delivered to the state, and 261,545 doses have been delivered as part of the federal provider programs.

More than 423,00 Delaware residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, representing 54.5% of the currently eligible population in the state. More than 322,000 have been fully vaccinated, representing 41.5% of the currently eligible population.

Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at de.gov/healthycommunity. For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination rollout in Delaware, visit de.gov/covidvaccine.

Long-term Care Statistics:
As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, May 6, there have been a total of 2,722 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 747 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.

The locations and number of deaths involving residents of long-term care facilities are:

Atlantic Shores Rehabilitation and Health Center, Millsboro (25)
Brackenville Center, Genesis Healthcare, Hockessin (23)
Brandywine Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Wilmington (37)
Brandywine Living at Seaside Pointe, Rehoboth Beach (5)
Brookdale Dover, Dover (15)
Cadia Healthcare Broadmeadow, Middletown (17)
Cadia Healthcare Capitol, Dover (22)
Cadia Healthcare Renaissance, Millsboro (14)
Cadia Healthcare North Wilmington/Silverside, Wilmington (33)
Cadia Healthcare Pike Creek, Pike Creek (3)
Churchman Village, Newark (22)
Country Rest Home, Greenwood (17)
Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, Smyrna (15)
Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Delmar (2)
Dover Place, Dover (7)
Foulk Manor South, Wilmington (15)
Forwood Manor, Wilmington (10)
Governor Bacon Health Center, Delaware City (1)
HarborChase of Wilmington, Wilmington (4)
Harbor Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Lewes (46)
Harrison House Senior Living, Georgetown (48)
Hillside Center, Wilmington (9)
Ingleside Assisted Living, Wilmington (4)
Kentmere Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Wilmington (9)
Kutz Senior Living, Wilmington (10)
Little Sisters of the Poor, Newark (11)
Lofland Park Center, Genesis Healthcare, Seaford (6)
ManorCare Health Services, Wilmington (20)
ManorCare Health Services, Pike Creek (29)
Methodist Country House, Wilmington (4)
Millcroft, Newark (3)
Milford Center, Genesis Healthcare, Milford (53)
New Castle Health and Rehabilitation Center, New Castle (12)
Newark Manor Nursing Home, Newark (11)
Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation, Wilmington (26)
Pinnacle Rehabilitation and Health Center, Smyrna (40)
Regal Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Hockessin (16)
Regency Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Wilmington (9)
Seaford Center, Genesis Healthcare, Seaford (4)
Shipley Manor, Wilmington (12)
Silver Lake Center, Genesis Healthcare, Dover (3)
Somerford House and Place, Newark (6)
State Street Assisted Living, Dover (4)
Summit Assisted Living, Hockessin (4)
Sunrise Assisted Living, Wilmington (2)
The Center at Eden Hill, Dover (9)
The Moorings at Lewes, Lewes (4)
Westminster Village, Dover (23)
WillowBrooke Court Skilled Center at Manor House, Seaford (13)
WillowBrooke Court at Cokesbury Village, Hockessin (4)
Five other New Castle County long-term care facilities (1 death at each facility)
One other Sussex County long-term care facility (1 death at this facility)

If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or headache or congestion or runny nose without a known cause such as allergies. Other symptoms such as abdominal pain or lack of appetite have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may prompt further screening, action or investigation by a primary care provider. 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.

DPH reminds Delawareans that if you believe 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 – may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Information about testing events, including community testing sites, permanent fixed testing sites, and free-standing sites operated by the health care systems and hospitals, will be listed on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus website at de.gov/gettested.

Delawareans 18 or older are encouraged to download COVID Alert DE, Delaware’s free exposure notification app to help protect your neighbors while ensuring your privacy. Download on the App Store or Google Play.

Individuals with general questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211, or email delaware211@uwde.org. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

Individuals who have complaints about individuals violating public gathering restrictions should contact state or local law enforcement. Concerns that a business may be violating operating restrictions should be directed to: HSPContact@delaware.gov. Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses re-open should go to COVID19FAQ@delaware.gov. Questions regarding unemployment claims should be emailed to: UIClaims@delaware.gov.

As a reminder, DPH recently announced it has created a pathway for the public to submit complaints if they believe a COVID-19 vaccination provider is violating vaccination requirements. Those complaints can be directed to HSPContact@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.


Delaware COVID-19 Vaccination “Waiting List” Ends

With vaccinations and vaccine availability entering a new phase, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) will close the COVID-19 vaccination wait list to new sign-ups on Friday, May 7, by 3:00 p.m., and instead will focus on providing the public with information about available vaccination opportunities throughout the state.

The wait list, which opened on Jan. 20, was a necessary and useful way or getting then-scarce vaccine to those who needed it most based on an assessment of age and health conditions. It allowed appointment invitations to be prioritized first among those 65 and over starting in January, then those 50 and over in March, and lastly those 16 and over in April as each new phase of eligibility opened.

From Jan. 20 to May 6 more than 200,000 individuals signed up on the wait list. Utilizing the list, DPH’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, which coordinated the drive-through and other large vaccination events, has administered almost 100,000 vaccinations. Curative, a state vaccinating partner operating at Delaware Technical Community College campuses, also used the wait list to send email invitations, and has administered more than 55,000 vaccines, with other types of opportunities being offered to wait list individuals as well.

Recent multiple communication of vaccination events to those remaining on the wait list have resulted in few appointments being made, indicating that those remaining likely have been vaccinated elsewhere.

“The wait list was a critical tool for allowing us to assess demand for vaccine and to match limited doses with those most at risk from COVID-19,” DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. “Now that we are in a situation of more plentiful vaccine and open eligibility, we no longer need to screen and prioritize invitations to appointments, and we can focus on letting people know the multiple ways they can get vaccinated with or without an appointment.”

Last week, DPH revamped de.gov/getmyvaccine to include appointment and walk-in information for pharmacies, medical providers, hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, public health clinics, and Curative clinics. Individuals may also call the DPH Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 (option 3) for assistance in locating vaccine.

As of May 6, more than 785,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the state. Approximately 54% of Delaware residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 40% have been fully vaccinated.

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

 


Auditor McGuiness Finds Long-Term Care Facilities Needed Clearer Guidance, Assistance During Early Stages of Pandemic

DOVER, DELAWARE – Delaware’s long-term care facilities, which have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, needed clearer guidance and assistance from the state during the early stages of the pandemic, State Auditor Kathy McGuiness said today.

“My team reviewed publicly reported COVID-19 data at the state and federal levels, and they surveyed and interviewed long-term care facility administrators,” McGuiness said. “What we learned was that confusing and sometimes conflicting guidance from state and federal officials led those administrators to ask the state many questions – and those imperative questions were often not answered in a timely manner.

In a new special report, titled “Unanswered Questions: Improving Technology, Communications, and Reporting in Long-Term Care Facilities During the Pandemic,” McGuiness highlights three observations about COVID-19 reporting by and communication to the state’s long-term care facilities (LTCFs):

  1. Pandemic information: COVID-19 guidance changed frequently, came from multiple sources, was hard to interpret or was completely absent.
  2. Crisis communications: When faced with difficult situations, LTCFs were unable to contact or receive timely assistance from state health agencies.
  3. Pandemic reporting: Data reported to the federal government did not match data reported through state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) news releases; 18 LTCFs were not reporting data to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Long-term care facility residents are among those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” McGuiness said. “Regardless of whether you look at state or federal data, that much is clear.”

McGuiness pointed out that her team’s research shows that state health officials have worked diligently to provide guidance to LTCFs since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I applaud Delaware’s health officials for their tireless work over the last year to guide Delawareans through this pandemic,” McGuiness said. “This special report is meant to help state health officials see specific areas related to long-term care facilities so they can improve their communication, guidance and data reporting to provide an accurate picture of how these facilities’ residents and staff are being affected.”

To make her determinations, McGuiness directed her team to survey LTCF administrators about the guidance and assistance their facilities received both at the beginning of the pandemic and six months later. The team also reviewed federal and state guidance provided to LTCFs during those time periods, as well as publicly available data on CMS.gov and on Delaware’s official website, news.delaware.gov.

The new special report, which offers six recommendations for improvement, can be found on the Auditor’s Office website here.

Under Delaware Code 2909, the Auditor of Accounts may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information and recommendations the auditor deems advisable and necessary.

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at https://auditor.delaware.gov.

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Contact:

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff

302-857-3931

Alaina.Sewell@delaware.gov