Emergency Sirens To Be Tested

Smyrna, DE – The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and Delaware State Police will conduct a quarterly test of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations Alert and Notification system on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.  The sirens will sound at around 7:20 p.m.

The 37 sirens located within ten miles of the Salem/Hope Creek (New Jersey) plants will be activated for three to five minutes.  The siren tests will be followed by a test message of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on local radio stations. 

Sirens that will be tested are the same sirens used to alert the public in the event of an actual emergency at either the Salem or Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations.  In such an emergency, the public would be alerted by the sirens to tune their radios to one of the local EAS stations for important emergency instructions.

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Contact: Jeff Sands, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, 302-659-2211.


Terrorism Prevention Grant Funds Available

Smyrna, DE – Grant funding through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (OTVTP) has been made available to State, Local, and Tribal Governments as well as, nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status and institutions of higher learning. The FY2020 Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTPGP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) guidance was released to eligible applicants to fund projects that address terrorism prevention. Eligible applicants must apply to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) by June 5, 2020 at 5:00pm to be considered for funding.

DEMA’s approach to the prevention of targeted violence and terrorism centers on the establishment and expansion of locally-based prevention capabilities.  Allowable projects should focus on terrorism prevention-related activities that address planning, training, organization, exercises or domestic travel initiatives.  Projects will be divided into three funding tracks to address Local Prevention, Replication, and Innovation.  Applications must address the need, design, sustainability, and implementation of all proposals.

Interested applicants must contact DEMA to receive further instructions, application template, and other supporting documentation. Additionally, a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number is needed for application. No applications will be accepted by DEMA after June 5, 2020 at 5:00pm.   Qualified applications will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by June 17, and grant administrators at the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention will make the final determination of eligibility and award.

For more information on submission requirements, application templates, further instructions and questions, please email Plan.DEMA@delaware.gov or call (302)659-2231.

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Contact: Jeff Sands, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, 302-659-2211.


‘Hope Line’ Connects Delawareans to Help for Handling Stress, Behavioral Health Issues

NEW CASTLE (May 15, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) has launched a phone line dedicated to helping Delawareans cope with stress and address behavioral health needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Delaware Hope Line – 1 (833) 9-HOPEDE or (833) 946-7333 – is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to connect callers to a variety of resources and information, including support from clinicians and peer specialists plus crisis assistance. The Hope Line, which is free, provides a single point of contact for individuals to tap into DSAMH’s range of services and resources.

Delawareans can also get behavioral health tips and reminders by texting DEHOPE to 55753.

The spread of COVID-19 and the social and economic impacts of mitigation efforts imposed to control the virus are expected to result in increased rates of mental health disorders and substance use disorders, along with deaths associated with suicide, overdose, and violence, especially domestic violence.

“Now more than ever, we are called to find ways to offer hope and a helping hand to one another,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “The Hope Line will help Delawareans who may be struggling with loneliness from social isolation; anxiety from the uncertainty of these times; or the stress of having to manage with limited resources. This is a time when no one has to struggle alone. We can find ways to be together in our common goal to keep Delawareans healthy and strong.”

“Though these public health mitigation efforts are necessary to help limit the transmission of the virus and the loss of life due to COVID-19, we know such measures will expose people to situations such as isolation and job loss that are linked to poor mental health outcomes,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “Anxiety is common, as people fear that they or their loved ones will get sick. Plus, we know that many of us are uncertain about all of the repercussions associated with this pandemic.”

According to a recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of Americans report that the coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health. And Mental Health America reported that since February, the number of people screening positive for moderate to severe anxiety and depression jumped by an additional 18,000 people compared with January. Resources and services are also available through DHSS’ behavioral health support website, HelpIsHereDE.com

“Based on the anticipated surge of mental health and substance use disorders related to the coronavirus crisis, we want to make people aware of the Hope Line so that we can help as many people as possible, when they are ready to receive it,” said Elizabeth Romero, DSAMH director. “We are living in extraordinary times requiring everyone to cope in different ways.”

The Hope Line will increase access to support for Delawareans experiencing mental fatigue, emotional distress, mental health issues, or addiction, Romero said, and to help them from feeling alone or in despair. “Our peer specialists and clinicians are here to provide a safe space for confidential therapy or coaching for those who need it, and they will link callers to appropriate services. We are grateful to partner with many behavioral health providers across the state to help in this crisis.”

A.J. Schall Jr., director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), emphasized the critical importance of resources such as the Hope Line. “During times of change and crisis we cannot forget about the need for mental health, not only to navigate existing challenges that people face but also for our statewide disaster and crisis-planning efforts to help those who need it most to adapt safely,” Schall said.

May is national Mental Health Awareness Month. A broad body of research links social isolation and loneliness to poor mental health. This may be particularly pronounced among older adults and households with adolescents, as these groups are already at risk for depression or suicidal thoughts.

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Additional Alternate Care Site Announced

Smryna – The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the State Health Operations Center (SHOC) are announcing today the plan for an additional alternate care site (ACS) to support Kent and Sussex Counties.  This plan is to accommodate overflow patients from Delaware hospital systems as they begin to experience a surge in patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  This mobile hospital will join the two previously designated: the first on the campus of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and the second at Governor Bacon Health Center.

The site will be a collaborative effort between Bayhealth, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, and Beebe Healthcare.  The three healthcare systems are coordinating their surge plans with county and state officials.  The primary goal is to maintain the surge within current hospitals.  If needed, the state has offered to set up a mobile hospital as an alternate care site.  Triggers have been identified as well as potential locations dependent on surge.  Site evaluations were performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Delaware National Guard in the weeks preceding.  The Delaware National Guard will provide crucial assistance with preparing, building, and operating this facility.  The field hospital was utilized during a 2016 exercise and the Delaware National Guard stands ready to deploy the unit as previously trained.  The mobile hospital can potentially treat 50-60 patients who do not have COVID-19.  If the site is used for COVID-19 patients that number would be reduced.  Numerous buildings were surveyed, however proximity to existing health care facilities and the accompanying resources are crucial to a successful mission.

The hospitals are managing the patients now with their current staffing but we are preparing for the expected increase in the coming days.  This location, like the New Castle County sites, will be opened to alleviate the surge on hospitals when needed.  We are grateful for the efforts of our partners in the health care systems within the state, the Division of Public Health, and the Delaware National Guard for their continued support.

For more information on COVID-19http://de.gov/coronavirus

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Contact: Jeff Sands, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, 302-659-2211.

 


Alternate Care Sites Announced

SMYRNA (April 6, 2020) – The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the State Health Operations Center (SHOC) are announcing today the designation of alternate care sites (ACS) in New Castle County to accommodate overflow patients from Delaware hospital systems as they begin to experience a surge in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sites for the southern part of the state are expected to be announced later this week.

One alternate care site will be Governor Bacon Health Center, the Department of Health and Social Services’ long-term care facility in Delaware City, said DEMA Director A.J. Schall and Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

Residents in two units will be transferred over several days this week – along with their current staff – to the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, another DHSS long-term facility in Smyrna. The residents from Governor Bacon will be placed in a separate unit at the DHCI Campus, isolated from current residents of DHCI. If all transferred residents clear the 14-day quarantine period, they will be integrated with the current residents of DHCI, said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician.

Residents of one unit at Governor Bacon will remain on the second floor for 14 days, with the current staff caring for them. If those residents clear the quarantine period, they also will be transferred to Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill.

The residents’ families and Governor Bacon staff have been notified of Governor Bacon’s alternate care site designation and the impending move, Secretary Walker said. As floors of Governor Bacon are made available, they will be deep-cleaned by DHSS before they are used as an alternative care site, Secretary Walker said. When all residents are moved to Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, Dr. Rattay said the State will have the potential of 75 additional beds at Governor Bacon for overflow patients from Delaware’s hospitals. Staffing to care for the potential overflow patients is currently being developed.

“We are grateful to the families of the residents and the staff for understanding why we have to move the residents of Governor Bacon,” Secretary Walker said. “Throughout this crisis, our top priority is the health and safety of our residents and also making sure that our staff who care for our residents are safe and healthy as well.”

Schall and Dr. Rattay said the other alternate care site being announced today by DEMA and SHOC is within Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Nemours will only be accepting transfers from Delaware community hospitals of non-COVID-19 adults. 

Nemours duPont Hospital for Children has developed two treatment areas to provide medical care for non-COVID-19 adults. The rehabilitation gym, which is located one floor below the main level and away from pediatric care, has been converted into an alternative care site for low-acuity cases beginning with 38 beds, with possible expansion if needed. A medical intensive care unit will be situated across and separate from the pediatric intensive care unit, and be comprised of 24 beds.   

Nemours’s treatment sites can become operational this week, and will begin providing medical care only once capacity is exceeded within Delaware’s community hospitals. Nemours’ surge sites will remain operational until community hospitals can reabsorb these non-COVID-19 adult patients.

Schall and Dr. Rattay said last week the State worked with Nemours, St. Francis Healthcare and ChristianaCare to identify options for the northern part of the state. After searching multiple possible sites with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Nemours campus was identified as the location that would provide the most efficiencies.  

Nemours has worked diligently over the last week to prep part of its building and this week training will take place with Nemours, ChristianaCare and the Delaware National Guard.

Schall and Dr. Rattay said the State, National Guard and Army Corps of Engineers continue to work with Beebe Healthcare, Nanticoke Health Services and Bayhealth for options to place non-COVID-19 patients from the southern hospitals if surge occurs. Site assessments continue today, with potential options being the old Milford Memorial Hospital and a National Guard field option adjacent to one of the current hospitals. 

For more information on COVID-19, http://de.gov/coronavirus

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Contact: Jeff Sands, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, 302-659-2211.