Governor Carney, DHSS announce Statewide COVID-19 Testing Plan in Coordination with Delaware Health Care Systems

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney, along with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), announced on Friday a coordinated statewide plan to ensure individuals with symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have access to safe and efficient testing in Delaware. Tests will be administered at no cost to the patients.

Through a collaborative effort between the Division of Public Health (DPH), Delaware Healthcare Association, and each of the health care systems in the state, this statewide plan aims to streamline the testing process, reduce the burden on the health system, ensure the safety of patients and health care workers, and better meet the COVID-19 testing needs of Delawareans.

“As this situation continues to evolve, we know that we will continue to see an increase in positive cases of the virus. It is critically important that we all work together to reduce the burden on our health system and keep Delawareans safe,” said Governor Carney. “Our goal right now is to limit the spread of the virus. The community-based testing plan we are announcing today builds on our already established infrastructure in Delaware’s health system in an effort to make testing more readily accessible for those in need.”

Beginning Monday, March 23, Delaware health systems will operate standing health facility test sites, where health care staff will test individuals who have been evaluated by a medical provider and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. A physician order or prescription is required.

Standing health facility test sites will include:

  • New Castle County: ChristianaCare will operate two testing sites, one in Newark, one in Wilmington; Saint Francis Healthcare will operate one site in Wilmington.
  • Kent County: Bayhealth will operate one testing site in Dover.
  • Sussex County: Beebe Healthcare will operate two testing sites, one in Millsboro and one in Frankford; Nanticoke will operate one testing site in Seaford.

Symptomatic individuals who want or need a COVID-19 test and who have access to a health care provider will need to be evaluated by their provider. Teleconsultation is preferred unless the provider determines in-person consultation is needed. If COVID-19 symptoms are present, the patient can be referred to a standing health facility test site.

Individuals who do not have access to a health care provider can call the DPH Call Center, or call centers run by Christiana Care or Bayhealth, and medical personnel will determine if the caller meets criteria for testing. Medical personnel will provide the appropriate documentation that will give the caller access to testing at a standing health facility test site.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, before leaving your home, call your health care provider or the DPH Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 first to discuss whether you should be tested for coronavirus. Importantly, testing is NOT recommended for those who do not have symptoms.

There is no need to go to the emergency room, unless you are having significant difficulty breathing. Delaware’s hospitals are prepared for coronavirus, but it is important to preserve resources for those that truly need them and avoid unnecessarily exposing vulnerable people to the virus. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and make sure to let the dispatcher know what symptoms you are experiencing.

“Effective response takes all of us working together. Our hospitals and the Division of Public Health will continue in close collaboration through this event,” said Wayne Smith, President & CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association. “Delawareans also have a critical role to play in keeping our health care providers safe: if you suspect you have been exposed to coronavirus, stop and call your health care provider first. It is vitally important that you do not go directly to your doctor’s office or the Emergency Room to protect the health of health care providers and vulnerable populations.”

There have been 38 total laboratory-confirmed cases in the state since March 11. This includes eight additional cases since yesterday. Of the Delawareans diagnosed with COVID-19, 27 are from New Castle County, five are from Kent County, and six are from Sussex County. Additional aggregate demographic information will be provided as part of the Division of Public Health’s daily update.

If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, stay home and make sure to distance yourself from vulnerable populations. This includes people 60 years of age and older; people with serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease; or those who are immunocompromised. Many individuals infected with COVID-19 recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids and taking pain and fever-reducing medications. However, illness can be severe and require hospitalization in some cases.

Delawareans with general questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for individuals who are hearing-impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Questions can also 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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ICYMI: Governor Carney Signs Legislation Protecting Health Care for Delawareans

New laws codify ACA consumer protections in Delaware law and provide dental coverage for Medicaid recipients

WILMINGTON, Del. –  At Westside Family Healthcare, Governor John Carney joined members of the General Assembly and health care advocates to sign Senate Bill 35 and Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 92, two pieces of legislation that will protect quality health care coverage for Delawareans and Delaware families.  

Senate Bill 35 codifies consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act in Delaware law – including protections for Delawareans with pre-existing conditions, the guaranteed availability of coverage, and permissible rating factors. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 92 will provide dental coverage for all eligible adult Medicaid recipients.

“All Delawareans and Delaware families deserve access to quality, affordable health care,” said Governor Carney. “Both of these pieces of legislation will help us deliver on that promise. Senate Bill 35 will codify in Delaware law many of the protections in the Affordable Care Act – including protections for Delawareans with pre-existing medical conditions. And adults on Medicaid will finally have access to affordable dental coverage, which we know is important to overall health. Thank you to Senator Paradee, Senator Townsend, and all members of the General Assembly for their partnership on this important issue.”

“Ensuring that Medicaid patients can access primary dental care touches on so much of what we are here to do,” said Senate Majority Whip Bryan Townsend. “It improves health care access for working families, makes our entire health care system more affordable and efficient by expanding preventative and primary care options, and upholds human dignity in a small but incredibly impactful way. I am thankful for the persistent, people-first leadership of our local health care advocates, doctors, and experts and I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for making sure Delaware finally takes this critical step.”

“Quality, affordable health care – particularly protections for people with pre-existing conditions – should be available to every Delaware resident, not a political football to be yanked out from under them when they need it most,” said Representative Bill Bush. “By codifying key parts of the ACA, we are protecting this right for Delawareans for years to come, regardless of what happens in Washington.”

“Ensuring that Delawareans continue to receive the vital health care they need and deserve is paramount to my mission as Insurance Commissioner,” said Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “Under this bill, Delaware guarantees that the most vulnerable consumers will continue to receive coverage. I thank Representative Bush and Senator Paradee for their commitment to protecting Delaware consumers.”

Photos from the signing ceremony can be found here.

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Future health professionals compete at international conference

More than 150 students and advisers from across Delaware joined more than 11,500 other members at the 42nd annual HOSA-Future Health Professionals International Leadership Conference in Orlando last week. The students represented the First State in competitive events that included: medical math, epidemiology, physical therapy, forensic medicine, dental science, medical assisting, biomedical laboratory science and more.

 

Delaware HOSA is a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) dedicated to students who are interested in pursuing their future in a career in healthcare. Through HOSA-Future Health Professionals, members have the opportunity to participate in career focused competitive events, take part in community service work, and become leaders for the organization in their school, state, and at the international level.  HOSA-Future Health Professionals incorporates curricular and co-curricular experiences to emphasize the importance of knowledge, leadership, skill development, and teamwork.

 

The following students and advisers were recognized in their events:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006

 


Health science students win state honors

Students took home awards from two recent statewide health science competitions.

 

During HOSA-Future Health Professionals 5th Annual Rare Disease Day on Feb. 28 at Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children in North Wilmington, students raised awareness of rare pediatric diseases. Their academic posters and presentations were judged by a group of distinguished judges from Nemours.

 

Rohan Kanchana and Caroline Kelly of Newark Charter School won first place for their presentation on sickle cell disease. Julie Curry and Beth Davis of Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Conrad Schools of Science placed second for their presentation on osteogenesis imperfecta. And Kayla Chin and Keirah Grace of Appoquinimink School District’s Middletown High School placed third for their presentation on retinitis pigmentosa.

 

Liz Lemus and Jennifer Mercado of New Castle County Vo-Tech School District’s Hodgson Vocational Technical High School won the philanthropy award.

 

Middle school students also took home honors Wednesday from HOSA’s Middle Leadership Conference .

 

The winners in health career display were:

  • Gold: Savayah Brown and Emani Jackson of Capital School District’s Central Middle School
  • Silver: Reese Culver and Paige Synoski of Capital School District’s Central Middle School
  • Bronze: Chelsea Henry and Zion Webb of Colonial School District’s McCullough Middle School

 

The winners in medical terminology were:

  • Gold: Jemela Malone of Capital School District’s Central Middle School
  • Silver: Kendal Owens of Capital School District’s Central Middle School
  • Bronze: Michael Blose of Capital School District’s Central Middle School

 

HOSA-Future Health Professionals is an international student organization that provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, and collegiate students enrolled in health science education.  The Delaware charter of HOSA-Future Health Professionals started in 2011 by the Department of Education.

 

Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006


DPH to Distribute Overdose Reversing Medication Naloxone March 9, 2019 in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN (March 1, 2019) – In an effort to reduce the number of individuals dying from drug overdoses in Delaware, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will hold Community Naloxone Distribution events in each county throughout the month of March. DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the general public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947. The distribution event will be held in the Theater Lobby and Rooms 344A/B in the Arts and Sciences Center. DPH is holding its first distribution event Saturday, March 2, 2019, in coordination with the atTAcK addiction 5K race in New Castle.

In addition, a third distribution event will be held in Kent County, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at Delaware Technical Community College, Terry Campus, 100 Campus Drive, Dover DE 19904, Corporate Training Center Rooms 408 and 412.

Each naloxone kit will contain two doses of naloxone, and members of the community who attend these events will receive one-on-one training on how to administer the overdose-reversing medication. The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) also will have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder.

“It is critically important for family and friends of loved ones struggling with addiction to have access to naloxone,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The data are telling us that 80 percent of overdoses happen in a residence. If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person.”

Within three to five minutes after administration, naloxone can counteract the life-threatening respiratory depression of an opioid-related overdose and stabilize a person’s breathing, which buys time for emergency medical help to arrive. DPH recommends calling 9-1-1 immediately if you find someone in the midst of a suspected overdose, starting rescue breathing, and then administering naloxone. Naloxone is not a replacement for emergency medical care and seeking immediate help and follow-up care is still vital.

There were at least 291 deaths last year in Delaware from suspected overdoses. Tragically, the final number is expected to exceed 400 after all toxicology screens are finished (they take six-eight weeks) and final death determinations are made on outstanding cases by the Division of Forensic Science. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Delaware as number six in the nation for overdose deaths in 2017.

In 2018, first responders administered 3,728 doses of naloxone, compared to 2,861 in 2017, a 30 percent increase.

Funding for the Community Naloxone Distribution Initiative comes from state funding built into DPH’s budget for the first time in state fiscal year 2019, thanks to the advocacy of Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Behavioral Health Consortium. In October, DPH also announced the agency was awarded federal funds to support the purchase of naloxone and other programs for first responders.

Community access to naloxone has increased significantly since 2014 when legislation was enacted making it available to the public. In 2017, Governor John Carney signed additional legislation ensuring pharmacists had the same legal protections as doctors, peace officers and good Samaritans when dispensing the medicine without a prescription.

Information on community training and pharmacy access to naloxone, along with resources regarding prevention, treatment and recovery are available on HelpIsHereDE.com.

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.

Delaware 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.