DPH Announces Launch Of Restaurant Accolade Program To Address Substance Abuse Prevention, Opioid Overdose

DOVER, DE (March 15, 2022) – The Division of Public Health’s (DPH) Office of Health Crisis Response (OHCR), has initiated a Restaurant Accolade Program to train and educate restaurant industry staff on how to reverse an opioid overdose and support coworkers with substance use disorder (SUD). The program was developed to assist restaurants, hospitality groups, and other food service industry workers across the state, while working to combat the stigma often associated with SUD.

The creation of the Restaurant Accolade program was informed by the results of Delaware’s first Drug Overdose Mortality Surveillance Report published in August 2019.  The report more narrowly guided the state’s efforts to effectively decrease substance abuse and opioid-related mortality and treat SUDs. The report examined data on drug overdoses that occurred in the state in 2017. Analyses in the report found that 10% of Delawareans who died of a drug overdose in 2017 were employed in the food services industry.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that among the 447 Delawareans who died of a drug overdose in 2020, that individuals within food service industry were among those more heavily impacted,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The hard-working individuals in our state need to be aware of the steps necessary to reverse or prevent overdoses that could affect their co-workers. The Restaurant Accolade Program is a great way for businesses to take care of their employees and provide a method for employers to remain informed on the opioid crisis.” 

“Anecdotally, restaurant employees and hospitality group managers have noted that there is an increased risk of opioid use among restaurant workers industry-wide,” said Mark Black from Brick Works Brewing & Eats in Smyrna. His restaurant is participating “because this is a problem we can no longer ignore.”

The Restaurant Accolade Program teaches staff in the food service industry how to respond to an opioid overdose and helps restaurants create policies and workplace environments to support employees and patrons struggling with SUD.

Restaurants and food service establishments progress through three levels of hands-on training to receive certification and recognition:

Bronze Level: Key staff are trained in how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose, administer NARCAN® nasal spray, and connect with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for additional assistance. All trained staff members and the establishment receive a personal Opioid Rescue Kit. Restaurants who complete the Bronze Level training receive a certificate of achievement and a Bronze window-cling decal to identify the establishment as a member of the Restaurant Accolade Program.

Silver Level: One to two individuals in the restaurant are trained to be peer supporters for their co-workers. These individuals are educated by DPH about opioids, addiction, and overdose, as well as key strategies to reduce stigma against individuals with substance use disorder. Peer supporters also will be educated about local treatment options and resources for individuals with substance use disorders so that they can support and assist co-workers who may be in need of these services. Restaurants who complete the Silver Level training receive a certificate of achievement and a Silver window-cling decal for the establishment.

Gold Level: General managers and human resources personnel receive training and support in developing policies and procedures that create an accepting environment for individuals in recovery, combat the stigma of addiction, and promote a drug-free workplace. DPH works with these personnel to assess restaurants’ current policies and environment and provide tailored assistance to these individuals. Restaurants who complete the Gold Level training receive a Gold Award, along with a certificate of achievement and a Gold window-cling decal and an award to be featured in the establishment.

Several restaurants across the state have already achieved the Bronze Level training as part of initial outreach done by OCHR:

  • Brick Work Brewing & Eats, 230 S Dupont Blvd., Smyrna, DE 19977
  • The Celtic Pub, 699 Jimmy Drive – Suites 6 & 7, Smyrna, DE 19977
  • DiMeo’s Pizza, 831 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE 19801
  • Marlena’s Mediterranean, 10 W. Main St., Middletown, DE 19709
  • Trevi Ristorante, 53 E. Glenwood Ave., Smyrna, DE 19977

DPH and OCHR have planned a virtual launch across the state to introduce the program to restaurant and hospitality group managers this spring. These events will feature presentations by Dr. Rattay on the current state of the opioid epidemic in Delaware as well as the work being done across the state to address this issue.

Attendees will also receive hands-on training in overdose prevention and naloxone administration, and be provided with Opioid Rescue Kits. Following these events, OHCR will follow up with food service industry attendees to provide onsite Bronze Level training to their restaurant staff. To schedule your establishment for training and get more information, contact the Office of Health Crisis Response at OHCR@delaware.gov

OCHR invites key personnel from restaurants, hospitality groups, and food service organizations to register to attend one of the two launch events:

  • Wednesday, March 23, 2022 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 24, 2022 from 9:00 am to 10:00 a.m. 

OHCR was created to address the opioid epidemic in the state.  Staff work with individuals and community organizations to educate them on the dangers of substance abuse, reduce stigma against individuals with SUDs, and promote harm-reduction practices such as the use of NARCAN®, to save individuals from potentially lethal drug overdoses and other related health complications. The Restaurant Accolade Program is one of OCHR’s next steps in reducing opioid overdoses and SUD across the state. Delaware recognizes and affirms it is vital to meet individuals in the communities and spaces where they live, work, and play.

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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 delawarerelay.com. 

The Delaware 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.


Virtual Ethylene Oxide Informational Meeting to Be Held by DNREC, U.S. EPA and Delaware Division of Public Health

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), along with state and federal partners, will hold a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 regarding ethylene oxide (EtO) – with the meeting’s focus on public health and safety concerns over Croda, Inc.’s EtO production in the New Castle area. Information will be presented by DNREC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Delaware Division of Public Health, and Croda Inc., which manufactures EtO at its Atlas Point facility.

The information will include health data, risk estimates, facility updates and ongoing activities to address the emissions from Croda’s EtO plant. Afterward, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by staff from DNREC and partnering agencies, and by Croda officials. Questions also can be submitted prior to the virtual meeting by email to daqpermittinginfo@delaware.gov.

Additional information about EtO and the virtual meeting is available at de.gov/EtO.

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. The DNREC Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov, Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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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.


Weekly COVID-19 Update – Dec. 24, 2021: Record Number of New Daily Positive Cases Reported

DOVER, DE (Dec. 24, 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. 23, 2021. DPH reported the highest number of new positive daily cases since the start of the pandemic with 1,393 positive cases reported to the state Thursday. The previous record high was 1,241 on Jan 6, 2021.

If you feel sick – no matter the symptoms – we urge you not to host or attend any planned holiday gathering. If someone with the virus attends or hosts an Indoor gathering, there is a high risk for transmission, especially if face masks are not used and social distancing is not maintained. Infected individuals can release particles and droplets of respiratory fluids that contain the SARS CoV-2 virus into the air when they exhale. When people gather indoors – where they share the same air – the very fine droplets and particles will continue to spread and can accumulate.

As Delaware faces a winter surge of COVID-19 cases, holiday gatherings over the next week could contribute to additional spread. DPH strongly urges those who don’t feel well, regardless of a positive COVID-19 test, to stay home and not host or attend a holiday gathering. For additional holiday recommendations, visit de.gov/holidays.

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 170,009
  • 7-day average of new positive cases: 857.4, a significant increase from 668.7 last week
  • 7-day average for the percentage of total positive tests: 10.9%, an increase from 9.8% last week
  • Hospitalizations: 401, an increase of 42 from last week; critically ill: 52, an increase of 10 from last week
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 2,271
  • Total COVID-19 deaths reported since last week: 37, including 19 from a review of vital statistics records.

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

  • Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,528,125
  • Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 80.6%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 86.2%
  • Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who received at least one dose (CDC data): 88.2%
  • Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 63.9%

All qualifying Delawareans should get vaccinated. Individuals who qualify for a booster dose should get one as soon as possible. For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine. For information on boosters, visit de.gov/boosters. Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at 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 Dec. 13 – Dec. 19. The report highlights the significant percentage of unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated individuals comprising Delaware’s cases and hospitalizations.

Weekly Overview(12/13 -12/19)

Unvaccinated Cases

Total Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

3617

Total Cases

4986

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Cases

73%

Hospitalizations

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

144

Total Hospitalized Cases

185

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated Hospitalized  Cases

78%

Deaths

Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

14

Total COVID-19 Deaths

19

Percent of Unvaccinated / Partially Vaccinated COVID-19 Deaths

74%

 Breakthrough Cases (cumulative since vaccinations began):

  • Total breakthrough cases: 9,858 or 1.7% of fully vaccinated individuals
  • Total breakthrough hospitalizations: 150
  • Total breakthrough deaths: 120

A breakthrough case is defined as testing positive for COVID-19 after an individual has been fully vaccinated for two weeks or more.

COVID-19 Variant Cases in Delaware:  

During the week of Dec. 16 – Dec. 22, a total of 416 test samples were sequenced through routine surveillance of test specimens. Of those test samples, 274 (65.9%) sequenced at the DPH Lab were positive for a variant strain, as were 6 additional specimens sequenced at an outside lab. Out of the 280 variant positive samples, 247 were identified as the Delta strain, and 33 were identified as the Omicron strain. To date, a total of 37 cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Delaware.

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory and other laboratories regularly monitor for the presence of COVID-19 variants, including Delta and Omicron, through routine genomic sequencing of test specimens. Genome sequencing is a public health surveillance tool used to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 variants; it is not used to diagnose individuals with a specific strain of COVID-19, as treatment recommendations do not differ based on variant strains. COVID-19 tests identify current infection of COVID-19, but do not identify a specific variant of the virus the individual might have.

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.

Monday, Dec. 27

Wilmington Housing Authority, 1802 N. West St., Wilmington, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Kennedy Apartments, 2800 N. Tatnall St., Wilmington, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Philadelphia Pentecostal Holiness Church, 13724 S. Old State Road, Ellendale, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 28

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., Suite 100, Smyrna, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

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

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Claymont State Service Center, 3301 Green St., Claymont, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 30

Appoquinimink State Service Center, 122 Silver Lake Road, Middletown, 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.

Laurel State Service Center, 31039 North Poplar St., Laurel, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 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. 23, there have been a total of 3,030 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 876 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 Launches QR Tool Giving Delawareans Convenient Access to Their COVID-19 Vaccine Record

DOVER, DE (Dec. 21, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today that individuals vaccinated in Delaware will now have access to a QR code when downloading their COVID-19 vaccination record.

The digital COVID-19 vaccination card now includes the QR code and is available through the DelVAX Public Portal, a site where those who were vaccinated in Delaware can access their immunization records. When the person accesses their COVID-19 record they will be able to download a PDF version of it, which resembles a vaccine card and includes the QR Code. The image can then be saved to a phone gallery, or printed on paper.

The technology allows anyone to show proof of vaccination with a digital or printed QR code instead of a paper card. QR codes contain the same information as paper records, but in a format that offers greater security and efficiency. The QR code is digitally verified by the Delaware Division of Public Health.

“This new feature provides individuals convenient access to their COVID-19 vaccination record in a way that keeps their personal health information secure,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “This offers a protected link to your COVID-19 vaccination record on the go.”

Businesses that choose to verify an individual’s vaccination status can scan QR codes using a SMART Health Card verifier app. Individuals do not need to download an app to obtain their QR code. When a business or entity scans the QR code, the vaccination information will only appear for a short period of time for verification purposes and will not be saved on the device, keeping the individual’s personal information secure.

Delaware is among several states to recently adopt the SMART Health Card Framework for QR codes, providing individuals with trustworthy and verifiable copies of their vaccination records in digital or paper form. The framework and standards for the technology were developed by VCI, a coalition of more than 800 public and private organizations – including The Mayo Clinic, Boston Children’s Hospital, Microsoft, MITRE, and The Commons Project Foundation.

QR codes are available to anyone whose vaccination record includes a working phone number and is in Delaware’s immunization database, DelVAX. Nearly all doses administered in Delaware are reported to DelVAX, including pharmacies, physician offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, public health clinics and state-run community vaccination events. Some doses administered outside Delaware to Delaware residents may be in DelVAX. Doses administered directly by federal agencies such as the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs are not reported to DelVAX.

Parents and legal guardians can access official immunization records for their child/children age 0-17, and adults (age 18 years and older) can access official immunization records for themselves. DelVAX uses two-factor authentication via text messaging or email to validate patient, parent, or guardian access.

The DelVAX Public Portal is available at https://delvax.dhss.delaware.gov/delvax_public/Application/PublicPortal.

 

 

Individuals who need assistance can call 1-800-282-8672, or email DelVAX@delaware.gov.