DPH Recognizes Successful Partner In Its Restaurant Accolade Program

DOVER, DE (Dec. 6, 2022) ­– The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) would like to recognize High 5 Hospitality as the first hospitality group in Delaware to have all its restaurants achieve the Bronze Fork award as part of the Restaurant Accolade Program. High 5 Hospitality restaurants include Buffalo Wild Wings, Eggspectation, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Limestone BBQ, and the Stone Balloon with a total of 15 locations.

Initiated by DPH’s Office of Health Crisis Response (OHCR) in March 2022, the Restaurant Accolade Program has successfully trained management and staff at 66 restaurants to address substance use disorder. All are now Bronze Fork awardees. The next levels of certification are the Silver and Gold Forks. The program teaches staff in the food service industry to respond to an opioid overdose and helps restaurants create policies and workplace environments to support employees and patrons struggling with substance use disorder (SUD). Restaurants are among the industries whose workforce has had a high incidence of overdose. 

“We are proud of our leaders and team members for being the first hospitality group to achieve the Bronze Fork Award for all our locations,” said Lori Ewald, High 5 hospitality director of human resources and marketing. “Our teams were very responsive to the training, and we are looking forward to achieving the next level. This training has helped our team members gain an increased awareness of the opioid crisis and provided them with tools to save a life. When people ask why we participate in this program, my response is simple – Why wouldn’t we?”

OHCR has trained almost 400 Delaware restaurant employees on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. Staff and restaurants were also given Narcan kits to use and keep on site. The Restaurant Accolade Program is one of OHCR’s initiatives aimed at reducing drug overdoses and substance use disorders across the state, while working to combat the stigma often associated with SUD.

“We recognize it is vital to meet individuals in the communities and spaces where they live, work and play and we appreciate all the restaurants that have partnered with us in this program” said OHCR Director Kate Brookins. “We are dedicated to providing support to restaurants and their patrons and staff in our fight to combat overdoses and addiction.”

Restaurants can schedule training and get more information by emailing OHCR@delaware.gov.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call the DHSS 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options. In New Castle County, call 1-800-652-2929. Or in Kent and Sussex counties, call 1-800-345-6785.

For free 24/7 counseling, coaching, and support, as well as links to mental health, addiction, and crisis services call the Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE. To search for treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states, visit HelpIsHereDE.com.

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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its outstanding dedication to driving change through innovation. DPH 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. 

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


Carney, Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce $11 Million to Bolster Public Health Workforce and Infrastructure

WILMINGTON, Del. – Delaware Governor John Carney, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) today announced that Delaware will receive $11,021,366 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen the First State’s public health workforce and infrastructure.

Nationwide, the CDC is awarding $3.2 billion to help state, local, and territorial jurisdictions across the United States to provide the people, services, and systems needed to promote and protect health in U.S. communities. This includes $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act, legislation championed by Senators Carper, Coons and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, for jurisdictions to recruit, retain, and train their workforce, including critical frontline public health workers such as epidemiologists, contact tracers, laboratory scientists, community health workers, and data analysts.

“Our public health workers have an important role in our state, and we are grateful for the services they provide to help keep Delawareans healthy,” said Governor Carney. “The last few years highlighted the impact that our public health team can make in our communities. These federal funds will strengthen Delaware’s public health system, and enable us to recruit and train more workers to deliver key services across our state. Thank you to the CDC and to our congressional delegation for this funding, and for supporting Delaware’s public health infrastructure.”

“The pandemic has shown us just how important strong and durable public health care infrastructure is in the First State,” said Senator Carper. “This funding – made possibly by the American Rescue Plan that I was proud to support –will go toward retaining and attracting employees into this critical sector of our workforce. As our public health systems face continuous obstacles, I am grateful that our state will be able to take the steps necessary to ensure Delaware is resilient against all future health crises.”

“When I welcomed U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to Delaware last week to speak directly with health care providers, we heard how health care providers have grappled with the turmoil of the past few years, and how those challenges have been shared by their colleagues in public health,” said Senator Coons. “This grant provides the funding necessary to strengthen public health and will equip those working in our health care community here in Delaware and throughout our nation with the resources these workers need to properly support the communities that they so proudly serve.”

“Maintaining public health is essential to the wellbeing of our state and Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) is front and center in this charge,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester, member of the House Health Subcommittee. “Today’s grant announcement from the CDC will infuse federal dollars, including funds from the American Rescue Plan that Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and I championed, into DPH to strengthen and expand its public health infrastructure. With this funding, DPH will focus on the recruitment, retention, and training of its workforce so that its reach can be expanded across the state to administer vital public health services to more Delawareans. I’m proud to have played a part in bringing this funding to Delaware and look forward to how it will strengthen DPH’s efforts to keep our communities healthy.”

“We are grateful to CDC and our congressional delegation for continuing to support the critical work of our public health team, which works tirelessly day in and day out to serve and protect the residents of our state,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik. “This additional federal funding will allow us to expand our current public health workforce, build on the enhanced infrastructure we were able to put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthen our capabilities to ensure we are able to rapidly respond to any emerging health threat in the future.”


Covid-19 Remains A Risk During Holiday Season As Does Flu And Other Respiratory Viruses

DOVER, DE (Nov. 18, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) reports that the statewide 7-day average of new positive COVID-19 cases has decreased for the fourth consecutive month. Hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 have remained low over the same time period. Average new positive cases are lowest in Kent County, with Sussex County only slightly higher. However, the 7-day average in New Castle County is almost three times that of Kent County and double the average for Sussex County. In general, the level of community spread remains low. 

Testing and vaccination remain our best tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as we prepare to gather with friends and family this holiday season. At-home testing is fast, convenient and reliable, especially for those who are feeling sick. If you test negative but still have symptoms, consider taking a second test within the timeframe described in manufacturer’s instructions. If the second test is still negative, contact your healthcare provider and consider you may have another respiratory virus like influenza (flu). 

 

Don’t let COVID-19 have a seat at your table this Thanksgiving.  Delawareans should remain vigilant to protect their loved ones from COVID-19 by following these key prevention strategies.

 

  • Stay home if sick.  Even if it’s not COVID-19, you don’t want to spread flu or other germs to those around you, especially older, very young or immunocompromised friends and family.
  • Get tested for COVID-19:
    • 1-2 days before a large gathering
    • If you have symptoms of COVID-19
    • Five (5) days after being exposed to someone confirmed to have COVID-19
    •  
  • Ensure your home or gathering place is properly ventilated. Click here for more information about improving ventilation in your home, including an online interactive ventilation tool. This easy-to-use tool helps you find the best combination of ventilation options in your home to decrease the level of COVID-19 particles in the air.
  • Wear a mask when out or around others if it makes you more comfortable or are immunocompromised.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date with your vaccines, especially the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster, and flu shot.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes if you are around others when they occur.
  • After a trip, travelers are recommended to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.

 

It is important to remember eligible individuals can get either the Pfizer or Moderna updated bivalent booster, regardless of whether their primary series or most recent dose was with Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax or the Johnson & Johnson (J & J) vaccine. As per the CDC recommendations, the new bivalent booster replaces the existing monovalent vaccine booster, therefore that vaccine will no longer be authorized for use as a booster dose in people ages 5 and up. The bivalent booster is for those who completed their primary series, or previous boosters, two or more months ago. 

The Novavax vaccine is also authorized as a monovalent booster dose for adults ages 18 and older, at least 6 months after completing primary vaccination with Pfizer, Moderna or Novovax, or two months after J&J who have NEVER received a previous booster. Adults may choose to receive a Novavax booster instead of an updated Pfizer or Moderna booster if they are allergic to mRNA vaccines, or they don’t wish to get an mRNA vaccine. For more information on boosters, visit de.gov/boosters. 

 

 

DPH encourages individuals to get their booster at the same time as they get their annual flu vaccine, either in the same arm at least one inch apart, or in different arms. As of Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, a total of 598 influenza cases were reported for the week of Nov. 6 to Nov. 12, an increase from the prior week. This brings the total number of influenza cases for the season to 1,404. While cases are increasing, influenza-related hospitalizations remain low at 23 statewide for the current season. 

As flu cases rise this season, only 26% of Delawareans have received their annual flu vaccine. The CDC encourages everyone 6 months older to get their annual flu vaccine by Thanksgiving. Flu vaccines and bivalent boosters are available at DPH clinics, many pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers and some community events. You can find a list of locations for COVID vaccines at de.gov/getmyvaccine or at vaccines.gov. Locations for flu vaccines can be found on the flu finder on the flu.delaware.gov webpage. More details on the bivalent booster can be found at de.gov/boosters.  

 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is another respiratory virus of concern. Cases are beginning to decline, but remain relatively high. During the week of Nov. 6 to Nov. 12, there were 102 laboratory-confirmed cases of RSV reported among Delaware residents with 606 total cases for the 2022-2023 season.

 

The co-circulation of COVID-19, flu and RSV continues to be a concern for Delaware. The three viruses have contributed to a strain on the health care system, and DPH urges the public to practice prevention guidelines to help reduce the impact and allow hospitals to continue caring for those who are seriously ill. Though a vaccine does not yet exist for RSV, it’s not too late to get critical protection from the flu if you not yet received a flu vaccine Close to half of the nearly 1,500 Delaware flu cases reported this season, occurred between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12. Getting the flu vaccine reduces the chance of getting sick. While it is still possible to get the flu even after you’ve been vaccinated, the vaccine reduces the severity of illness if you do get sick.

 

The below data is as reported on Delaware’s My Healthy Community data portal on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.  

 

COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations:  

  • Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 315,440*
  • 7-day daily average of new positive cases: 105.9, a decrease of 40.5 average new positive cases reported since Oct 14, 2022  
  • 7-day daily average for the percentage of total positive tests: 6.7 percentage points, a decrease of 3.2 percentage points reported since Oct. 14, 2022  
  • Hospitalizations: 99 current hospitalizations; critically ill: 5
  • Total COVID-19 deaths: 3,163, an increase of 42 since last month, including 39 as a result of ongoing Vital Statistics review of deaths occurring between June and October.*Case and testing data are based on reporting of lab-confirmed COVID-19 tests only. The number of COVID-19 cases in the community is higher than what is reported because of the use of at-home test kits. 
  •  

COVID-19 Vaccinations:  

  • Total number of doses administered in Delaware:2,051,226
  • Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 76.1%  
  • Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 80.2%  
  • Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 81.7%  
  • Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 72%  

COVID-19 Case Vaccination Status Report:  The following reports capture a weekly breakdown of non-boosted cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for the time frame of Oct 31 – Nov 6, 2022.    

Non-boosted: Case – Hospital – Death

 

Weekly Overview(10/31/22 – 11/06/22)

Not up-to-date Cases

Total Not up-to-date Cases

828

Total Cases

911

Percent of Not up-to-date Cases

90%

Not up-to-date Hospitalized Cases

Total Not up-to-date Hospitalized Cases

94

Total Hospitalized Cases

100

Percent of Not up-to-date Cases

94%

Not up-to-date Deaths

Total Not up-to-date Deaths

1

Total COVID-19 Deaths

1

Percent of Not up-to-date Deaths

100%

 

 

Note: Case and Hospitalization Count: based on RTS (Report to State Date) Death: based on DoD (Date of Death)  

  

Long-term Care Statistics:  

As of Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, there have been a total of 4,837 positive COVID-19 cases involving long-term care residents, and 1,000 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.  DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus. 

 

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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its outstanding dedication to driving change through innovation. DPH 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.  

  

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com. 


Governor Carney Formally Extends Public Health Emergency

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Thursday formally extended the Public Health Emergency order another 30 days to allow the State of Delaware and medical providers to continue COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs.

 

“As we enter the holiday season, it’s important that we keep doing the things we know that work,” said Governor Carney. “Stay home if you’re sick. Get vaccinated and boosted when you’re eligible. And get your flu shot if you haven’t yet.”

 

Under Delaware law, Public Health Emergency declarations must be renewed every 30 days.

 

Visit Governor Carney’s website to view the Public Health Emergency extension.

 

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DPH Launches Flu Data Dashboard On My Healthy Community As Cases Increase Dramatically

DOVER, DE (Nov. 9, 2022) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the launch of the My Healthy Community (MHC) influenza (flu) dashboard, which shares weekly as well as seasonal data on positive cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and for the first time, vaccinations in the state. The dashboard is intended to provide an accurate picture of flu activity among Delawareans and make influenza data readily and easily available. Updates will occur weekly on Thursdays for local data, and monthly for other geographies. The flu dashboard can be found by clicking on the ‘Weekly Flu Data’ link at flu.delaware.gov or visiting [myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov]myhealthycommunity.dhss.delaware.gov.

“We are extremely excited to leverage the power and popularity of the My Healthy Community data portal platform to share the most currently available data on influenza,” said DPH Interim Director Dr. Rick Hong. “The portal has become most well-known for providing real time COVID-19 data.  Now we can bring that same level of detail and transparency to the public with flu data as well.”

The launch of the dashboard is timely as flu cases have soared dramatically. For the week of October 23 to 29, the most recent time for which data is available, there were 172 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in the state bringing the season total to 254. The week’s total is a six-fold increase from the prior week. Many medical providers offer rapid flu tests in their offices.  As this data is not being consistently reported statewide to DPH, the number of lab-confirmed cases is likely an under-representation of the total level of flu in the community. Conversely, flu-related hospitalizations for the season remain low, at 14.  DPH is working through data suppression issues on MHC to be able to add that data to the dashboard.  Data for these categories will be available at the county level and will be broken down by age group. Trend graphs for influenza-like illness and COVID-like illness are also available. No flu-related deaths have yet been reported through October 29.  The data available on MHC will replace the weekly influenza surveillance reports prepared by DPH’s Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology.  

DPH officials remain concerned about having the influenza, RSV and COVID-19 respiratory viruses all circulating at the same time. The number of RSV cases for the latest week is 126, bringing the season total to 398.  These are lab-confirmed cases only and are an under-representation of the complete picture of RSV in the state. RSV data is not currently planned to be added to the new dashboard but will continue to be reported on the DPH website’s influenza surveillance page and may also be accessed in the data section of flu.delaware.gov.  DPH will begin working to also collect additional RSV-related data on patient visits from health care systems, and their affiliated urgent cares/walk-ins and primary care providers.

Delawareans can help prevent the spread of the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 and RSV, by following these simple steps:

  1. Get vaccinated for the flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses for which vaccines are available.
  2. Stay home if sick.
  3. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of the tissue in a wastebasket afterward.
  4. Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  6. Sanitize commonly touched surfaces more frequently during the fall and winter.
  7. Wear a mask when cases are high or if you are at higher risk for respiratory illness.

Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies (including in grocery stores), participating medical provider offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for their patients), and Division of Public Health clinics. While DPH no longer holds mass community flu clinics, it is offering flu vaccines at community-based locations where the DPH mobile units also provide additional health services. 

Flu symptoms come on suddenly and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, and fatigue. Some signs and symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, and body aches, chills, and fatigue. Testing can effectively help you determine which illness you have. Children, older adults, and those with chronic underlying medical conditions are most at risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now. 

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 less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. 

In addition, people with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with people in the household and 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. Contacting your primary care provider is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant, or have chronic medical conditions. 

DPH is sharing flu-related messaging through radio, print, and social media messaging and has distributed a toolkit to schools, community-based organizations, and medical providers to help encourage flu vaccination through their networks.   

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672

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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its outstanding dedication to driving change through innovation. DPH 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.  A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.