DNREC, DPH Announce Bethany Crest Water System’s Finished Water is Safe for Drinking and Cooking

Samples Show Ion Exchange Treatment Reduces PFAS Concentrations

Results from samples taken from the water system serving residents of the Bethany Crest community near Millville returned test results that were below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Health Advisory Level (HAL) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFAS in drinking water. Residents may resume normal use of the water, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today.

Following a sampling that found the source water from Bethany Crest water system (before treatment) was near or at the HAL, DNREC and DPH acted quickly to sample the finished drinking water (after treatment) going to residents.

Samples taken by DNREC showed that an ion exchange treatment that had already been in place for the Bethany Crest water system had been successful in removing PFAS from the community’s drinking water. Out of an abundance of caution, DPH had advised Bethany Crest residents to use bottled water provided by the water system owner for drinking and cooking while the finished water samples were being tested.

Testing results from an Oct. 23 sampling for PFAS in the Bethany Crest water system showed that the ion exchange treatment had removed PFAS to significantly below the health advisory level of 70 ppt. The results also indicated that while other wells and public water in the area sampled within a one-mile radius of Bethany Crest showed PFAS detections, all were below the EPA health advisory level.

Bethany Crest is a manufactured housing community with a small water system serving approximately 50 homes. The sampling of source water was collected as part of a proactive screening of public water sources throughout the state being conducted by DNREC.

DPH is continuing to work with the system owner to identify long-term strategies that can be implemented to ensure the risk to residents does not increase in the future.

Meanwhile, DNREC’s Remediation section conducted an assessment to identify potential sources of the contamination, and DNREC will open an investigation immediately into locating the source or sources of the PFAS detected in the Bethany Crest water system.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals used in industry and consumer products. Due to their extensive use in these products over time, PFAS are found in people, wildlife, and fish and are known as “forever chemicals” because some PFAS can stay in people’s bodies a long time and cause health problems with long-term exposure.

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 Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts:

DNREC: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov, DPH: Andrea Wojcik, andrea.wojcik@delaware.gov

###


Weekly COVID-19 Update – Nov. 5, 2021: COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Continue Downward Trend

DOVER (Nov. 5, 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, Nov. 4, 2021.

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 145,330
  • 7-day average of new positive cases: 250.6, a decrease from 265.9 last week
  • 7-day average for the percentage of total positive tests: 6.0%, a decrease from 6.2% last week
  • Hospitalizations: 154, a decrease of 6 from last week; Critically ill: 24, a decrease of two from last week
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 2,115
  • Total COVID-19 deaths since last week: 26 (including 11 from a review of vital statistic reports)

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

  • Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,292,625
  • Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 80.6%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who received at least one dose (CDC data): 82.4%
  • Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC Data): 60.1%

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.

Vaccines Now Available for Children Ages 5-11:

DPH announced earlier this week that Delaware’s vaccine providers can begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine to children ages 5 to 11. Parents or guardians are encouraged to first contact their child’s pediatrician to see if they are administering the vaccine. Vaccines will also be available at Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients; Westside Family Healthcare is offering vaccinations to non-patients as well), and standing DPH vaccine sites. Additionally, vaccines will be available to patients of pediatric health care providers and a limited number of large chain pharmacies initially until vaccine supply opens up. DPH recommends parents check pharmacy websites for scheduling options and availability before going.

DPH has extended operating hours at its standing vaccine sites from Nov. 8 – Nov. 19, to make vaccinations more convenient and accessible for working families. The following COVID-19 vaccination sites will be open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.:

  • Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 1990,
  • 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

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 Oct. 25 – Oct. 31. The report highlights the significant percentage of unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated individuals comprising Delaware’s cases and hospitalizations.

Weekly Overview
(10/25 -10/31)

Unvaccinated Cases

Total Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

1337

Total Cases

1782

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

75%

Hospitalizations

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

38

Total Hospitalized Cases

50

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

76%

Deaths

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

9

Total COVID-19 Deaths

13

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

69%

Breakthrough Cases (cumulative since vaccinations began):

  • Total breakthrough cases: 5,882 or 1.1% of vaccinated individuals
  • Total breakthrough hospitalizations: 111
  • Total breakthrough deaths: 83

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, 138 test samples were sequenced through routine surveillance of test specimens. Of those test samples, 85 (61.6%) sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were 51 additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. Out of the 136 variant positive samples, all were identified as the Delta strain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the classifications of known COVID-19 variants. Currently, the Delta variant is the only variant being monitored by the CDC as a “variant of concern” and no other variants are currently classified as “variants of interest.” For more information regarding CDC variant classifications, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html.

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 flu vaccine will also be available and can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

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 next week. COVID-19 testing will be available at each location.

Monday, November 8

Burlington Coat Factory, 515 N. DuPont Hwy., Dover, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Shoppes at Hamlet, 1059 Walker Road, Dover, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Edna Dickey Park, 60 Madison Drive, Newark, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Thurman Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 9

Spence’s Bazaar, 550 S. New St., Dover, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00  p.m.

Wawa, 102 E. DuPont Hwy., Millsboro, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Royal Farms, 26672 John J Williams Hwy., Millsboro, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Dollar Tree (Riverside location), 2400 Northeast Blvd., Wilmington, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 10
Wawa, 200 East St., Camden, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Country Farm, 1014 S. Little Creek Road, Dover, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Laurel Town Hall, 201 Mechanic St., Laurel, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Goodwill Center, 300 East Lea Blvd., Wilmington, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Adams Four Shopping Center, 800 West 3rd St., Wilmington, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday, November 12

Carroll’s Plaza, 1114 S. DuPont Hwy., Dover, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Eagle Meadows Apartments, 4666 Carolina Ave., Dover, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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

Ames Plaza Shopping Center, 800 Norman Eskridge Hwy., Seaford, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry, 2713 Lancaster Ave., Wilmington, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 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, Nov. 4, there have been a total of 2,931 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 861 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.


DPH Advises Vaccine Providers to Offer Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5 to 11 Years of Age

DOVER (NOV. 3, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) today announced that Delaware’s vaccine providers can begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.

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

“This is very exciting news for Delaware in the ongoing fight against COVID,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We have been waiting for the day when we could give our younger school-aged children this very effective layer of protection and let them get back to a more normal childhood. Parents are naturally going to be concerned about rare adverse reactions. What we know is the benefits far outweigh the extremely rare chance of a bad reaction. If my children were in this age group, I would absolutely vaccinate them right away.”

The Pfizer vaccine dose has been reduced for children under 12. During clinical trials nationwide involving more than 3,000 children ages 5-11, the vaccine was found to be more than 90% protective against developing symptomatic COVID-19.  No severe vaccine-related side effects such as myocarditis or severe allergic reactions were identified. Side effects were found to be similar to, or fewer than, those experienced by adults and included sore arms, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, chills, and low-grade fevers lasting a day or two.

There will be adequate supply of vaccine to accommodate those children who qualify. There are approximately 77,500 children in this age group in Delaware.

Parents or guardians are encouraged to first contact their child’s pediatrician to see if they are administering the vaccine. Vaccines will also be available at Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients; Westside Family Healthcare will offer vaccinations to non-patients as well), and 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

Additionally, vaccines will be available to patients of pediatric health care providers and a limited number of large chain pharmacies initially until vaccine supply opens up. DPH recommends parents check pharmacy websites for scheduling options and availability before going.

Written parental consent is required for people younger than 18, but either a parent or other adult may attend with the child. Those with concerns should speak to their family physician.

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


DPH Announces Third Human Case of West Nile Virus for 2021

DOVER (Nov. 2, 2021) – The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today that an 87-year-old Kent County woman has become infected with West Nile Virus (WNV), making it the state’s third case of human WNV in 2021. The woman indicated no travel history that could have led to transmission, meaning she contracted WNV in Delaware. To protect the patient’s privacy, DPH will not provide additional information on this case.

WNV is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause serious health problems. WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes, generally in summer and fall, with a peak period for disease transmissions from mid-August to mid-October. Nearly 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not become ill. While only a little less than 20 percent of those infected with the virus will develop West Nile fever with mild symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash on the chest or back and swollen lymph glands), one in 150 people infected will develop severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis).

Symptoms of severe WNV infection include headache, high fever, stiff neck, and/or tremors and muscle weakness. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Anyone who experiences any of these severe symptoms should seek medical help immediately. Symptoms may progress to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death.

The mosquitoes that cause WNV bite primarily from dusk (evening) to dawn (morning). However, other mosquitoes that cause diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika can bite during the day. It is important to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent whenever you go outdoors. It’s also recommended to wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your limbs from insect bites.

In addition to the three human WNV cases, there has been one confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Kent County horse.  West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are diseases transmitted to horses via the bites of mosquitoes. Humans can also be infected with WNV and EEE, but transmission requires a mosquito bite, and the virus cannot be directly transmitted between horses, or between horses and people. Signs of infection in horses include fever (although not always with WNV), anorexia, head pressing, depression or personality change, wobbling or staggering, weakness, blindness, convulsions, muscle spasms in the head and neck, or hind-limb weakness. If owners notice any of these signs in their horses, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.

Horse owners can take several additional steps in the barn and around the farm to help protect horses from mosquito bites. Horses should be kept inside during dawn and dusk, which are peak hours for mosquito activity. Topical insect repellents labeled for use on horses may be applied. The wind generated by fans installed in horse stalls can also help deter mosquitoes. Old tires and containers should be disposed of, and standing water eliminated. Water troughs or buckets should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled every 2-3 days if possible to remove any mosquito eggs or larvae.

Mosquito Bite Prevention: To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection, individuals should:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for reapplication times.
  • If using sunscreen, apply it first and insect repellent second.
  • Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply it to the child’s face. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or on cut or irritated skin.
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
  • When outside, wear shoes, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Mosquito netting can protect one’s face and neck, and infants in carriages, strollers and playpens.
  • Use permethrin (an insecticide) to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents), but do not apply to skin.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from entering the house by using screens and keeping windows and doorways tightly sealed.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Mosquito Control section announced WNV had been found in sentinel chickens for the first time this year in July. Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including WNV and EEE, will continue until colder weather sets in, which this year could be as late as mid-November. Until that time, in response to findings of WNV or EEE in humans or horses by the Division of Public Health and Delaware Department of Agriculture, respectively, DNREC’s Mosquito Control section typically increases its mosquito population surveillance efforts in the vicinity of the virus findings, and then, depending on types and numbers of mosquitoes encountered, takes appropriate mosquito control measures as warranted. To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156.

For more information about mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses, use the following resources:

For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the DNREC Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.

For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.

For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.

For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4561.

To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 1-888-295-5156.

For more information on West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

For more information on what you can do to prevent West Nile Virus, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s website, www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html.

###

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices).  The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Public Health Officials Confirm First Two Flu Cases of the 2021-2022 Season, Including First Pediatric Case

DOVER (NOV. 1, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the state’s first two laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for the 2021-2022 flu season, including the first pediatric case of the season. The cases involve a Kent County child under the age of 5, infected with influenza strain B, who was hospitalized, as well as a 26-year-old Sussex County woman, with influenza strain A, who was not hospitalized. Neither individual had received the flu vaccine.

“This first case of the flu is an excellent reminder for us to get our flu vaccine as soon as possible,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We must not get lulled into a false sense of security with last year’s unusually low case numbers. With Delawareans resuming pre-pandemic activities, the flu is a definite threat to our health. Because hospitals and physicians’ offices are already taxed with COVID-19 cases, we must do everything we can to prevent adding more to their burden and the flu vaccine is a very good start.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older and can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. Since it takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. Getting the flu vaccine now will also provide protection during the entire flu season.

During the pre-pandemic 2019-2020 flu season, Delaware recorded more than 7,000 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. Nearly 400 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 11 people died from flu complications.  During the 2020-2021 flu season, there were 26 confirmed cases of the flu, one hospitalization and one death.

DPH is offering flu vaccines when staff are out providing COVID-19 vaccines at community-based events. These events are listed at de.gov/getmyvaccine under the Community-Based events section (indicated by *DPH mobile trailer, flu vaccines also available). Additionally, a schedule for flu vaccines at Public Health clinics for uninsured and underinsured individuals can be found at: https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html.  Flu vaccines also are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. To locate where flu vaccines near you are being offered, Google “CDC flu finder” and enter your ZIP code. The flu is easy to transmit, and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults, and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

In addition to getting an annual flu shot, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu the same way they can prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

  • wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • wear a face covering when in public
  • maintain 6 feet of space between others, especially those who reside outside of your own home
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms. They include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, and headaches. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from flu include a change in or loss of taste or smell. If you are sick, the best thing to do is call your health care provider to see if you should get tested for COVID-19 or come in for a visit.

Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household – you can give someone the flu 24 hours before you show symptoms and five to seven days after you get sick. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

Today’s flu cases will be reported in the DPH Flu Surveillance Report later this week. For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit [flu.delaware.gov]flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.