Delaware’s Pandemic EBT Program will Provide Benefits to Feed Children During the Summer

Eligible Families Will Receive Emergency Food Assistance Benefits in 2 Distributions

 

NEW CASTLE (Aug. 2, 2022) – Eligible Delaware households will receive emergency food assistance benefits under the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to cover the summer period when children are on break and not receiving meals at school.

The following children are eligible for the Summer P-EBT benefit:

  1. Children who were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the last month of the 2021-2022 school year. This includes children who graduated at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
  2. Children who are determined newly eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during this summer and were enrolled in a Delaware school during the 2021-2022 school year. Households that submit a meal application to their school on or before Aug. 26, 2022, and are approved will qualify for Summer P-EBT as long as the child was enrolled in the school for the 2021-2022 school year.
  3. Children under age 6 who are part of a household that is receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits during this summer.

The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Social Services (DSS) is collaborating with the Delaware Department of Education and Delaware schools to issue the Summer P-EBT benefit beginning this month. Households will receive the U.S. Standard Summer P-EBT Benefit of $391.00 for each eligible child in their home. The Summer P-EBT benefit will be split into two separate issuances.

 

Issuance Amount
(for each eligible child) 
Date Benefits will be
Available on EBT Cards
$195.00 August 5, 2022
$196.00 September 2, 2022

 

The date that benefits are issued to individual households depends on when P-EBT eligibility information is received from Delaware schools.

P-EBT benefits may be used to purchase food at stores that accept SNAP EBT cards. SNAP households will have P-EBT benefits loaded on their existing SNAP EBT cards. Households that do not receive SNAP will have P-EBT benefits loaded on the P-EBT card that was sent to them in a previous school year. Newly eligible non-SNAP households will receive a P-EBT card in the mail along with details on how to use the card.

“For vulnerable families across our state, the Summer Pandemic EBT program is an important way to make sure that the nutritional needs of children continue to be met when they are away from school,” said DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik. “We are grateful to the federal government and Delaware’s congressional delegation for providing critical funding to support eligible Delaware families.”

DHSS estimates that it will issue $43.8 million in P-EBT benefits to parents or guardians of approximately 112,050 children this summer.

Eligible households will receive written notification in the mail regarding the Summer P-EBT benefit. P-EBT eligibility is based on information received from Delaware schools.

Families who would like to apply for free or reduced-price school meals may contact the School Nutrition Program for their child’s school or visit their school’s website to complete an application. Families must apply for free or reduced-price meals by Aug. 26, 2022, to be potentially eligible for Summer P-EBT.

Please contact the Division of Social Services at 1-866-843-7212 if you have questions about Delaware’s P-EBT Program. Visit Delaware’s P-EBT website for more information.


Delaware State Parks Expected to Set Visitation Record

 Increased visitation to Delaware State Parks is expected to continue as more people opt for the benefits of being outdoors

 

After breaking attendance records in 2021, Delaware State Parks is on pace to set another visitors’ attendance mark by the end of 2022, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today.

In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation had 47,250 active annual passes that allow daily entry into Delaware State Parks compared with 61,744 in 2021, a 31% increase.

As of April 30, 39,959 individuals had purchased an annual pass within the first two months of sales – surpassing the 39,568 passes purchased by the same date in 2021 despite two fewer months of sales. Park passes typically go on sale in December, but sales for 2022 were delayed until February due to nationwide supply-chain disruptions.

Visitation to Delaware’s 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo has increased by 30% in the last five years, from 6.1 million in 2017 to 7.9 million in 2021, and is up 78% over the last decade. Increased visitation is expected to continue as more people opt for the benefits of being outdoors.

“The incredible interest our Delaware State Parks have experienced since the start of the pandemic is here to stay. Like never before, the public recognizes the many benefits the nation’s best state parks offer for our health and wellbeing,” said DNREC Secretary M. Shawn Garvin. “I am incredibly proud of how our parks staff continues to meet the challenges that come with increased demand and usage of all our venues and amenities.”

Usage on some park trails has increased more than 70% during the pandemic, boat rentals at the inland pond parks increased by 24%, and the state-owned Deerfield and Garrison’s Lake golf courses saw record-breaking numbers of rounds of golf played with an increase of 37%.

Visitation to the Delaware State Parks beaches also grew, causing parking lots at Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks to reach capacity, resulting in 69 lot closures in 2021. While it is common for day-use parking lots at beach parks to reach capacity on busy summer weekends, 16 of the lot closures in 2021 occurred on weekdays.

Camping and cabin reservations at Delaware State Parks have increased more than 30%, with 153,582 nights booked in 2021 compared to 117,471 nights booked in 2019. While summer has historically been the most popular time to camp in Delaware State Parks, camping and cabin reservations during the off-season started to increase in fall 2020 and continue to trend upward. Camping also draws some of the most active park users who spend both their days and nights on park grounds.

 Delaware State Parks also marked its 70th anniversary in 2021 and, for the second time, won the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) 2021 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. This biennial Gold Medal Award has only been given 13 times since its establishment in 1997. Delaware and Florida are the only state park systems to win the award more than once.

The division released a Strategic Plan in 2021 with core priorities and goals that will guide Delaware State Parks through 2026. Part of the plan includes the launch of Project 75 with multiple initiatives to take the division into its 75th anniversary. Project 75 includes 75,000 tree plantings in state parks, 75 new accessible amenities and $7.5 million in grants and partnership funding to support free park-based field trips, community recreational improvements, and cultural and natural resource stewardship efforts statewide.

The Division of Parks and Recreation manages an accredited zoo, marinas, golf courses, a water park and is responsible for giving interpretive tours of our state capital. The division is a steward to more than 26,000 acres of land and aims to improve public health, connect children to the outdoors, provide accessible recreation, construct and maintain a sustainable network of trails, and encourage partnerships for conversation, recreation and tourism.

About DNREC

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 Enjoy the natural diversity of Delaware’s 17 state parks. Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

###


COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Now Available for Delawareans 12 and Older

This press release was updated on Jan. 7, 2022, to reflect a CDC update shortening the booster interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

DOVER, DE (JAN. 6, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) today announced that Delaware’s vaccine providers can now begin administering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to individuals ages 12 to 15 who completed their initial Pfizer vaccine series at least five months ago.

Today’s announcement comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval Monday to expand Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow for the Pfizer booster to be administered to this age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met Wednesday and agreed with the FDA findings. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky endorsed the advisory committee’s recommendations later that evening.

The FDA and CDC also shortened the booster interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 or Moderna vaccines. This means that people can now receive an mRNA booster shot 5 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series. The booster interval recommendation for people who received the J&J vaccine (2 months) has not changed. Individuals younger than 18 are only able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and are not able to mix and match vaccine brands for their booster as those individuals 18 and older can do.

Data show that COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen protection against Omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 variants. The FDA and CDC reviewed real-world data from Israel, including safety data from more than 6,300 individuals 12 through 15 years of age who received a booster dose of the vaccine. The data show there are no new safety concerns following a booster in this population. There were no new cases of myocarditis or pericarditis reported to date in these individuals.

“Given the record number of COVID-19 cases we are seeing in our state and how transmissible the Omicron variant is proving to be, this is welcome news,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Vaccines and booster doses offer the best protection against infection, hospitalization and death. I urge all Delawareans who are eligible to receive a booster dose to get one now. If you or your children have not received an initial round of the COVID-19 vaccine series, now is the time to protect yourself, your children and those you love. The more Delawareans who are vaccinated and protected against this virus, the better protected we all will be.”

According to CDC data, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are 7 and 11 times higher, respectively, in unvaccinated adolescents, compared to vaccinated adolescents.

The FDA and CDC also moved to allow for moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds to receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-11. Children in this age group who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who have been diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise, may not respond adequately to the two-dose primary vaccination series, and benefit from a third dose. The FDA previously authorized a third primary series dose for use as part of the primary immunization series in individuals 12 years and older.

DPH encourages providers to use their clinical judgment and to consider additional factors for their patients when determining if the person meets the qualifications for immunocompromised status and is eligible for an additional/third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Delawareans who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot are recommended to seek vaccines at existing vaccine sites, including pharmacies, health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, DPH clinics and the following standing DPH Vaccine sites:

  • Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901
  • Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947
  • Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805
  • University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702

For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.


DPH to Implement Updated CDC Guidance Reducing Quarantine, Isolation Periods

DOVER, DE (Dec. 28, 2021) – The Division of Public Health announced that it will implement updated guidance issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to shorten the recommended time that people should isolate or quarantine from 10 days to 5 days based on certain conditions and vaccination status.  The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if they have no symptoms at that time, they may leave isolation as long as they continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.

The CDC’s new guidance says:

  • For those who test positive for COVID-19 – but don’t have symptoms – the isolation period can be reduced from 10 days to 5 days as long as the person wears a mask around others (in and out-of-home) for at least 5 additional days. If you have symptoms, you can end isolation after 5 days as long as any fever you had has resolved and any other symptoms are improving. If you have a fever, remain in isolation until the fever resolves. You must wear a mask in all settings for 5 additional days.
  • For close contacts who are unvaccinated, or more than 6 months out from their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or 2 months out from their single dose of Johnson & Johnson (without a booster), quarantine has been reduced from 10 days to 5 days, followed by mask use for an additional 5 days.
  • For close contacts who have received their booster shot, or are less than six months out from being fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna or are less than 2 months from their J&J vaccine, no quarantine is needed, but these persons should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure to the positive case.
  • For vaccinated close contacts who are not yet eligible for a booster – including students younger than 16 – no quarantine is needed. However, mask-wearing in all settings is required for 10 days. DPH is reviewing the guidance and evaluating its impact on the Test-to-Stay program.

According to the CDC, for all those exposed, best practice would also include a COVID-19 test at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not related to COVID-19.

Additionally, DPH will be refocusing its contact tracing efforts to focus on case investigation and contact tracing in high-risk settings (e.g.: schools, LTCs).  During case investigation, epidemiologists will ask persons who are positive for COVID-19 to inform their close contacts of their positive status instead of reaching out to all close contacts itself.  This change is due to increasing case numbers to investigate and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, necessitating a need to prioritize its personnel and resources on preventing spread among those at highest risk.  During the next few weeks, DPH also asks for the public’s patience with case investigators and contact tracers. Because it will take time for DPH to update its computer-based systems with the new guidance, contact tracers will advise individuals that the standard script they read will be based on the previous isolation and quarantine guidance, but let them know next steps for ending isolation and quarantine earlier per the new guidance.

Employers and schools are advised that they can move forward in applying the guidance to their employees and students themselves without our oversight, or needing clearance letters from DPH, which are not required. Using the new guidance can reduce the impact of illness on a business or school’s workforce.

“We know this sudden change in isolation and quarantine guidance will take time for everyone to review, understand and implement,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “But we want to follow the science and what it’s telling us is that people are mostly infectious earlier in their exposure and longer periods of isolation and quarantine are not necessary. We also want to prepare folks that because it will take our contact tracers a few weeks to implement this change in our system, that people may receive conflicting guidance.  But we believe it’s important to empower individuals, employers and schools to make the isolation and quarantine changes themselves, providing they understand the conditions attached to the CDC’s guidance.”

“The most important thing that Delawareans can do to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and to get their booster if they are eligible,” Dr. Rattay said. “In addition, everyone can protect themselves and their families by wearing a face mask in public places; washing their hands; maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowds, especially indoors; and getting tested if they have symptoms, have had an exposure, or are required by their employer. And if you are planning a New Year’s celebration, please keep the gathering small and wear a face mask if you do not know everyone’s vaccination status.”


Weekly COVID-19 Update: New Positive Cases, Hospitalizations Trending Upward

DOVER, DE (Dec. 3, 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, Dec. 2, 2021. 

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 155,149
  • 7-day average of new positive cases: 432.7, an increase from 377.6 last week 
  • 7-day average for the percentage of total positive tests: 8.3%, an increase from 7.1% last week 
  • Hospitalizations: 266, an increase of 107 from last week; critically ill: 32, an increase of 12 from last week 
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 2,194
  • Total COVID-19 deaths reported since last week: 21, including nine from a review of vital statistics records.

 

Scam Alert:

DPH is making the public aware of a scam targeting Delaware residents. This scam is in the form of a text message indicating that you are required to validate your vaccination or testing status. The link will take you to a site that requests you enter personal information. This is not a valid website and the request is fraudulent. This text message may be sent from a variety of spoofed numbers. As a reminder, DPH and other state agencies will not ask for private information, such as Social Security number or driver’s license number, in this manner. If you receive such a message, do not respond. Individuals are advised NOT to click on any links included in text messages and/or emails unless you are certain they are valid. 

  

COVID-19 Vaccinations: 

  • Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,424,415
  • Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 77.7%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 83.7% 
  • Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who received at least one dose (CDC data): 85.6%
  • Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 61.8% 

 

Delawareans who are fully vaccinated have significant protection from COVID-19 infection, serious illness and death. All qualifying Delawareans should get vaccinated. For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware, visit [de.gov/getmyvaccine]de.gov/getmyvaccine. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at [de.gov/healthycommunity]de.gov/healthycommunity. 

 

COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:  

The following report captures a weekly breakdown of vaccination status for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for the time frame for Nov. 22 – Nov. 28. The report highlights the significant percentage of unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated individuals comprising Delaware’s cases and hospitalizations. 

 

Weekly Overview(11/22 -11/28)

Unvaccinated Cases

Total Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

1667

Total Cases

2306

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

72%

Hospitalizations

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

91

Total Hospitalized Cases

114

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

80%

Deaths

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

8

Total COVID-19 Deaths

10

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

80%

 

 Breakthrough Cases (cumulative since vaccinations began): 

  • Total breakthrough cases: 7,633 or 1.4% of fully vaccinated individuals 
  • Total breakthrough hospitalizations: 127
  • Total breakthrough deaths: 98

 

A breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more – although it does not mean that the infection occurred after vaccination. 

 

COVID-19 Variant Cases in Delaware:  

In the last week, 91 test samples were sequenced through routine surveillance of test specimens. Of those test samples, 61 (67%) sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were four additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. Out of the 65 variant positive samples, all were identified as the Delta strain.

 

Due to a technical issue, last week’s sequencing report could not be provided in the Nov. 26 weekly COVID-19 update. Between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26, 359 test samples were sequenced through routine surveillance of test specimens. Of those test samples, 184 (51.3%) sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were 33 additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. Out of the 217 variant positive samples, all were identified as the Delta strain.

DPH continues to monitor the science around the new Omicron variant, which has been classified as a Variant of Concern by both the World Health Organization and CDC. This variant was first reported in South Africa and has since been detected in several other countries and a handful of states, including Pennsylvania, in the U.S. No cases of this variant have been identified in Delaware to date. The Delaware Public Health Laboratory regularly monitors for the presence of COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, through routine sequencing of test specimens.

While we still have more to learn about the Omicron variant, Delawareans should continue doing what we know works: get vaccinated, wear a mask in indoor public settings, socially distance from others and wash your hands regularly. Vaccines remain the most critical tool to protect us against severe disease. Delawareans who are 5 years and older who have not received the vaccine should do so as soon as possible. This is especially important for our youngest eligible Delawareans, as they currently have the highest COVID-19 case rates.

 

DPH also encourages those who have been vaccinated with at least one dose to complete the full vaccination series and every adult should receive a booster dose when eligible. Boosters increase the strength of your antibody response to protect you from the virus, and many of its mutations. All adults who completed a primary vaccination series with an mRNA vaccine at least six months ago and those who received a Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago are eligible for a booster.

 

DPH COVID-19 Vaccine Mobile Units: 

DPH officials in partnership with medical staff from the Delaware National Guard (DNG) have mobile units that offer COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities.

 

The mobile units, which utilize trailers to transport the vaccine and provide vaccinations, are scheduled to visit these communities in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. COVID-19 testing will be available at each location. The mobile units in New Castle County will travel through specific neighborhoods and a community intervention team will canvas door to door to offer vaccination and testing services to residents.

 

Monday, Dec. 6

Wilmington’s North Side neighborhood, starting at North Claymont Street, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Laurel Junction, 10912 County Seat Hwy., Laurel, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Davelli’s Bagel Café, 201 W. Stein Hwy., Seaford, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

ILC Dover, 1 Moonwalker Road, Frederica, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Country Farms, 1014 S. Little Creek Road, Dover, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Tuesday, Dec. 7

DeLaWarr State Service Center, 500 Rogers Road, New Castle, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Smyrna State Service Center, 200 S. DuPont Blvd., Smyrna, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Laurel State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar St., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  

 

Wednesday, Dec. 8Goodwill Job Resource Center, 300 East Lea Blvd., Wilmington, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Bethel Market, 7743 Main St., Bethel, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Service General Laundromat, 801 Norman Eskridge Hwy., Seaford, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Emerald City Wash World, 730 W. Division St., Dover, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Byler’s Harrington, 1 Liberty Plaza, Harrington, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Thursday, Dec. 9

Appoquinimink State Service Center, 122 Silver Lake Road, Middletown, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Laurel State Service Center, 10912 County Seat Hwy., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Smyrna State Service Center, 200 S. DuPont Blvd., Smyrna, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Dover Housing Authority, 76 Stevenson Drive, Dover, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

Friday, Dec. 10

Wilmington’s Browntown/Hedgeville neighborhood, 1100 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

Saturday, Dec. 11

Route 9 Library, 3022 New Castle Ave., New Castle, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

*dates may be rescheduled if there is inclement weather 

For a full list of community-based events statewide including those organized by vaccinating partners and community groups at de.gov/getmyvaccine. 

 

Long-term Care Statistics: 

As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, there have been a total of 3,002 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 868 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19. 

 

Resources: 

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: 

Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

 

Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov

 

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. 

 

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