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.


DelDOT Operational Changes Update for March 17, 2020

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) continues to review operational needs while keeping the health and safety of our employees and customers in mind.

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 6:00pm, the Biden Welcome Center on I-95 in Newark will temporarily close to the public as efforts continue to limit crowds from gathering in response to the Coronavirus. Fuel will still be available at the gas station located on the north side of the property and bathroom facilities in the convenience store will also be available to motorists. The stand-alone Starbucks will continue to offer a full menu for drive through customers only.

At DelDOT’s four DMV locations, effective tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, business hours for Wednesdays will change to 8:00am to 4:30pm and there will be no evening hours to eliminate the possibility of overcrowding in the evening hours for the next two weeks. This may be extended and further changes may be implemented depending upon the status of the pandemic event.

If you are feeling sick, please do not visit public facilities and avoid public transportation. For more information on the state’s response to the Coronavirus, visit de.gov/coronavirus.


DART to Operate Reduced Statewide Weekday Service Level Beginning Wednesday, March 18

Due to the presence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Delaware, business closures, reductions in staffing and lower ridership levels, effective Wednesday, March 18, DART public transit services will operate on the following reduced service schedule until further notice. On weekdays, regular fixed route services will operate on a Saturday service schedule statewide, with additional service on Routes 15, 18, 43 and 301. DART’s regularly scheduled weekend service will operate normal service levels. For specifics, please visit www.DartFirstState.com.

Customer Service call center hours will be reduced to Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. Riders can view real-time bus information by downloading the DART Transit app. For any concerns or questions, customers are encouraged to email us at dotdtcweb@delaware.gov. Our Customer Service Team will also be monitoring DART’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to assist customers with any inquiries.

In addition, all DART ticket stores will be closed until further notice starting on Wednesday, which includes the stores at 718 N. Market St., Amtrak Station, at DART Administration Buildings in Dover and Wilmington, and at the Lewes Transit Center. DART fares and passes can be purchased through DART Pass mobile payment app, online, or by paying cash on the buses. A list of other sales locations is available here.

The Lewes Transit Center Passenger Facility will also be closed to the public.

Statewide Paratransit services will continue to operate normal hours, as will the Reservations call center.

To support Delaware Public Schools, DART is offering students free bus rides on regularly scheduled bus routes to access school meal programs weekdays from 10 AM to 2 PM until schools are back in session.

Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) has implemented several additional measures to clean vehicles and facilities used by the public to help limit the spread of the illness. For customers who ride our public transit service, all DART buses have and continue to be thoroughly disinfected with vital oxide antimicrobial spraying solution and we are thoroughly cleaning areas of frequent contact to keep our buses as clean as possible. Our public facilities and lobbies are continually being disinfected including counters, public seating, and door handles.

The safety and well-being of our customers and employees is our top priority. We know the importance of connecting people to their destinations, safely, and efficiently. We are closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation through Delaware’s Division of Public Health and the CDC to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information to guide our operations.

If you are feeling sick, please do not visit public facilities and avoid public transportation. For more information on the state’s response to the Coronavirus, visit de.gov/coronavirus.


TMC Radio 1380 AM to Replay Governor Carney’s Virtual Town Hall Today

WILMINGTON, Del. – As Delaware continues to respond to the spread of the Coronavirus and inform as many residents as possible, DelDOT’s WTMC Radio will rebroadcast at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. today the audio of Governor John Carney’s virtual town hall with Delaware’s Secretary of Health and Social Services Dr. Kara Odom Walker that took place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020. WTMC Radio is available statewide at 1380 AM and at 98.5 FM for the majority of New Castle County.

“We understand that not every resident in our state has access to the internet or a smartphone, and want to ensure we are providing information through every medium available so every Delaware resident can be aware of how we are responding to the presence of the Coronavirus in our state and providing guidance from our medical professionals,” said Governor John Carney. “WTMC Radio is another tool we can use to provide information to those at home without internet access, motorists, and our elderly population who are at a risk as this situation continues to unfold.”

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 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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DNREC announces changes to operations in response to COVID-19

Parks, wildlife areas open with no entrance fees until April 30,
but park and wildlife buildings, centers closed to public;
Fishing, hunting, boating licenses, park and conservation passes sales moved online

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to focus on taking a proactive and preventative approach to keep communities and employees safe in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while maintaining operations and services as best as possible.

To encourage Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity during the coronavirus period, no fees will be charged or passes required for entrance to Delaware State Parks and state wildlife areas, effective immediately until April 30.

“Times are challenging and options are few, and this is an opportunity for Delawareans to experience our amazing parks and wildlife areas, to embrace nature while we maintain social distance from each other,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Hopefully, people will enjoy them enough that they will want to keep coming back long after coronavirus has passed, so we encourage people to buy a state park or wildlife conservation area pass online to use for the rest of the season and to support park and wildlife area operations.”

  • State parks and wildlife areas are open, and no entrance fees will be charged from now until April 30. All state park campsite, cabins, bathhouses, cottages continue to be open at this time. Buildings such as park and wildlife area offices and nature centers will close after the end of the day Tuesday, and programs and tours are canceled. Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people. People can find parks and wildlife areas listed online.
  • As of Wednesday morning, sales of fishing licenses, hunting licenses conservation passes for vehicle access to wildlife areas and boat registrations will occur online only or at any third-party vendors that remain open, instead of in person at DNREC’s Dover office. Annual park passes good for the entire season and surf fishing tags should also be purchased online only or at any third-party agents instead of at park offices or in the Dover office; purchased park passes will be mailed before April 30. The Department has provided convenient links to these resources on its homepage, available at dnrec.delaware.gov.
  • Commercial fishing license sales will continue at the Department’s main office in Dover by appointment only. Call 302-739-9916 to make an appointment.
  • Applications and information provided for well, septic, air, water and other permits are being accepted by email, mail and phone, reducing direct interchange of documents.
  • Hearings for permits, regulations and appeals are being moved to phone or video for public access. Details on how to access any hearings will be posted with the official hearing notices.

Most Department-related events and programs, including tours, trainings and special events have been postponed, including the Junior Solar Sprint competition for middle-school students at Delaware Technical Community College’s Dover campus April 2, the volunteer training April 4 for the annual horseshoe crab spawning survey and the “Make a Splash” water education event for elementary students at the St. Jones Reserve April 7. Specific information about the status of any events is available on the online events calendar, parks program calendar and social media pages, Facebook and Twitter.

The Department remains open. Many office-based employees are working from home and remote locations or relocating within offices to create distance among individuals. Adjustments are being made to procedures for many parks, wildlife and field personnel to reduce interactions among employees and with the public.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov