Public Health Announces Additional Positive Cases of Coronavirus

DOVER (March 17, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing eight additional positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) bringing the statewide total to 16. Seven of the eight individuals are New Castle County residents, and one is the first reported case in Sussex County. Four of these individuals are males, and four are females. The ages fall within the range of 18 to 70. All but one is self-isolating at home; one in New Castle County is hospitalized. Six of the seven New Castle County residents participated in the ChristianaCare Health System drive through testing event.

The Sussex County resident had a travel-related exposure. The source of the exposure of the remaining individuals is under investigation. DPH will not be disclosing additional information about the individuals. DPH does not have the results for all of the patients who attended drive-through event; the hospital system that performed the testing will report results to the patients, and all positive results to DPH.

DPH’s guidance for individuals who are well, are to limit social contacts while practicing social distancing from others (keeping six feet apart), and finding alternative ways to greet people that don’t involve shaking hands, as well as practicing good hand and cough hygiene. However, individuals who are at elevated risk, which includes persons age 60 and older and those with chronic underlying health conditions, are urged to remain at home to limit their exposure to germs.

For individuals who are sick, particularly with fever, cough and shortness of breath, stay home, and contact your primary care provider for guidance regarding symptoms and next steps.

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 and cough, or shortness of breath), specimens will be collected by medical providers and run at either a commercial laboratory or the Public Health Lab. Medical providers must collect specimens for testing; specimens are not collected at the DPH Lab or at 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 to commercial labs. With commercial lab testing now available, Delaware has enough capacity to accommodate its current testing needs. Providers only need to collect nasal swabs as they would for flu to submit samples for testing.

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.

DPH reminds Delawareans to use everyday measures to prevent the spread of all infections, which would also slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it right away.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, including the backs of your hands and under your nails, for 20 seconds. Or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean commonly used surfaces such as computers, desktops, countertops cabinets, handles and more with disinfectant.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

If you are healthy, the CDC does not recommend buying or using face masks. You should only wear a mask if a health care provider tells you do so.

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 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. The DPH Call Center does not have test results. Individuals awaiting test results should wait to hear back from their medical provider.

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


Health Care Commission Awards First Value-Based Payment Reform Mini-Grant to a Christiana Care Behavioral Health Pilot

NEW CASTLE (Nov. 15, 2018) – As part of the State Innovation Model (SIM) initiative, the Delaware Health Care Commission has awarded the first value-based payment reform mini-grant to Christiana Care Health System to test a new reimbursement model that will also improve the coordination of patient care.

Christiana Care Health System’s CareLink Behavioral Health Medical Home Pilot was awarded $62,168 to test a reimbursement model to foster behavioral health integration within primary care practices focusing on a subset of AmeriHealth Medicaid members with chronic behavioral health conditions as a primary diagnosis.

The Health Care Commission is prepared to award up to multiple applicants in amounts ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 through the Value-Based Payment Reform Fund for work that must be completed by Jan. 31, 2019. The commission has received a total of 45 applications from primary care providers, behavioral health providers, hospitals, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and clinically integrated networks, all of which must be licensed in the State of Delaware. The commission expects to award grants for small projects (up to $50,000) and large projects (up to $250,000), based on the scope of the project.

“We are pleased to announce the first mini-grant award to Christiana Care as a way for a prominent health care provider in our state to conduct a pilot project in the area of value-based payment reform,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “This is a significant step forward in terms of how health care will be delivered and paid for in Delaware. Additional awards are going through the review and approval process, and we look forward to making those announcements soon.”

“As our work with the State Innovation Model nears its conclusion, the mini-grants are an important milestone for health care providers in our state as they embrace change in health care delivery and plan for long-term sustainability in terms of innovation,” said Dr. Nancy Fan, Chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission. “Along with ongoing work through our practice transformation vendors, the mini-grants will give providers a practical way to facilitate change in the health care landscape.”

Applications, which were received during the summer, fell into one of three areas:

  • Data integration: Project must enhance the applicant’s data integration, clinical informatics or population-based analytics capabilities. Examples include data exchange infrastructure and analytics projects or support; data warehousing and reporting capacity; and development of data-sharing agreements.
  • Improve the coordination of patient care: Project must enhance the applicant’s clinical integration. Examples include conducting data analytics and developing care guidelines for a primary care-based system of complex care management for high-risk population(s); implementing improvements in care transitions such as new business processes or mutual agreements with partner providers; and implementing a practice support call center.
  • Increase readiness to integrate into an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) or operate through an Alternative Payment Method (APM): Project must develop, expand or enhance the applicant’s shared governance structures and organizational integration strategies, linking the applicant with ACO leadership and across the continuum of care with providers already contracted with an ACO. An example would be support to model costs of care in preparation for participation in value-based payment arrangements with multiple payers.

“The Delaware Center for Health Innovation (DCHI) is a public/private partnership that was created after Delaware received a four-year State Innovation Model grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation,” said Julane Miller-Armbrister, executive director of DCHI. “We support innovative changes in health care delivery and payment in our state in order to drive quality and better health for the people of Delaware. The mini-grants are another step forward in achieving lasting change.”