State Auditor McGuiness Releases Special Report Analyzing Overdose Data Dashboard

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today the release of a special report titled “Falling Short During the Opioid Crisis? Delaware’s Overdose Dashboard”. This special report reviewed Delaware’s current drug overdose deaths data dashboard to determine if enhancements are needed that would positively affect the end user experience and better inform the response to substance abuse issues in the state.

“The opioid crisis has taken a major toll on the lives of families across our state with Delaware ranked 3rd in the nation for drug overdose mortality in 2020,” Auditor McGuiness said. “Communication is key to increased preparedness and awareness for communities to counter the complex challenges of drug addiction. Concerned residents must have data at their fingertips and that data must be relevant for the prevention and treatment assistance so desperately needed by local Delaware communities.”

Under Delaware Code 2909, the State Auditor may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information, and recommendations the State Auditor deems advisable and necessary.

The opioid crisis is a major concern in the United States and Delaware’s state agencies have prioritized efforts to attack the issue at its roots as well as combat the aftermath of illicit opioids, yet the mortality rate in Delaware remains among the highest in the country. Designing a data dashboard that meets the needs of those using the information requires an understanding of the user’s perspective and proper coverage of the scope of the problem Delaware faces in combating drug overdose deaths.

“Publishing statistics in a timely and comprehensive manner conveys to the public that the issue is real, dangerous, and that the State is committed to action. Drug overdose mortality is one statistic where the First State must not become first” McGuiness said.

The new special report, “Falling Short During the Opioid Crisis? Delaware’s Overdose Dashboard” can be found here.

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at


Contact: Tori Parker, Deputy Auditor

Weekly COVID-19 Update – Dec. 31, 2021: Record Number of New Positive Cases, Current Hospitalizations

DOVER, DE (Dec. 31, 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. 30, 2021. DPH reported the highest number of new positive daily cases since the start of the pandemic with 3,381 positive cases reported to the state Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. In addition, the total number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed the record high this week with 485 individuals hospitalized as of Thursday, Dec. 30. The previous high was 474 on Jan. 12, 2021.

Because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the contagiousness of the Omicron variant, DPH strongly encourages people not to gather with others outside of their household for New Year’s celebrations this weekend. 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, and infection is likely.

Note: Due to the large volume of COVID-19 lab results received recently by the Division of Public Health and the time needed to process the reported results into its database, some data typically reported in this weekly summary will not be available this week, specifically the weekly summary of the proportion of unvaccinated/partially vaccinated cases, hospitalizations and deaths; variant and sequencing updates; and breakthrough case data. DPH will work to provide updates on these data next week.

COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations:

Total positive cases since March 11, 2020: 180,366
7-day average of new positive cases: 1,503.1, a significant increase from 850.6 last week
7-day average for the percentage of total positive tests: 18.4%, a significant increase from 12% last week
Hospitalizations: 485, an increase of 84 from last week; critically ill: 55, an increase of 3 from last week
Total COVID-19 deaths: 2,286
Total COVID-19 deaths reported since last week: 15

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

Total number of doses administered in Delaware: 1,556,217
Percentage of Delawareans 5+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 81.2%
Percentage of Delawareans 12+ who have received at least one dose (CDC data): 86.7%
Percentage of Delawareans 18+ who received at least one dose (CDC data): 88.7%
Percent of Delawareans who are fully vaccinated (CDC data): 64.2%

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 [] For information on boosters, visit [] Delaware’s latest COVID-19 vaccination statistics can be found under the Vaccine Tracker dashboard at []

Long-term Care Statistics:

As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, there have been a total of 3,031 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.

Updates to CDC Quarantine/Isolation Guidance:

As a reminder, the Division of Public Health announced earlier this week that it will implement updated guidance issued Dec. 27, 2021, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to shorten the recommended time that people should isolate or quarantine after testing positive for or being exposed to COVID-19. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. The updated guidance can be found here.

Additionally, DPH will be refocusing its contact tracing efforts to focus on case investigation and contact tracing in high-risk settings (e.g.: schools, long-term care facilities). During case investigation, epidemiologists will ask persons who are positive for COVID-19 to inform their close contacts of their positive status instead of having epidemiologists and others reach out to all close contacts. This change is due to increasing case numbers to investigate and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, necessitating a need for DPH to prioritize its personnel and resources on preventing spread among those at highest risk.

During the next few weeks, DPH also asks for the public’s patience with case investigators and contact tracers. Because it will take time for DPH to update its computer-based systems with the new guidance, contact tracers will advise individuals that the standard script they read will be based on the previous isolation and quarantine guidance, but let them know next steps for ending isolation and quarantine earlier per the new guidance.

Employers and schools are advised that they can move forward in applying the guidance to their employees and students themselves. Using the new guidance can reduce the impact of illness on a business or school’s workforce. DPH systems may continue to automatically generate clearance letters for individuals who finish their isolation or quarantine period based on previous guidance. At this time, DPH will not be able to issue corrected letters using the newly released guidance. As a reminder, clearance letters are not required by Delaware Division of Public Health to return to work or school. Individuals should consult their employer or school for further guidance.

Flu Update:

Influenza cases are continuing to increase in Delaware. There were 126 laboratory-confirmed cases reported the week of Dec. 12 – Dec. 18. As of Dec. 18, 2021, the most recent date for which flu statistics are available, there have been 352 laboratory-confirmed cases for the current season. The cases involved 249 individuals from New Castle County, 40 from Kent County and 63 from Sussex County. This number reflects only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely higher as not all people with the flu seek treatment, and many cases are diagnosed through rapid test kits in a provider’s office versus a lab.

All individuals 6 months and older are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu if they haven’t already. Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies (including those in grocery stores), participating medical provider offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for their patients), as well as Division of Public Health clinics. DPH is also advising the public that the flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

For the latest information on the flu in Delaware, visit


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 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

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


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

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.



DPH Announces New Health Indicators Added to My Healthy Community Data Portal

DOVER  – The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced updates to its My Healthy Community data portal. DPH launched My Healthy Community earlier this year to allow Delawareans to access information about the overall health of their communities. My Healthy Community delivers neighborhood-focused population health, environmental and social determinant of health data to the public, and allows users to navigate the information at the smallest geographic area available, and understand and explore data about the factors that influence health.

Since launching the data portal in May 2019, DPH has added several new health indicators, including community safety, maternal and child health, healthy lifestyles, health services utilization, infectious diseases, lead poisoning, suicide and homicide. These data indicators also serve to highlight Delaware’s progress in meeting health care benchmarks as part of DHSS’s ongoing efforts to bring transparency to health care spending and to set targets for improving the health of Delawareans.

“When communities become aware of the level at which these issues are occurring in their neighborhoods, it can spur action that can improve the quality of life for current and future generations,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We highly encourage Delawareans to explore the data on the portal – especially the recently added datasets – to better understand their community’s health and the environment in which they live.”

Residents can search health indicators by street address, ZIP code, census tract, neighborhood, town/city, county and state. In addition, they can compare their community’s health measures with other Delaware communities, their county, and the state as a whole, as well as view data trends over time. To ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), not all data can be made available at every level, although the system is designed to provide data for the smallest geographic area when possible.

My Healthy Community was developed through a partnership among several DPH programs, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH), and the Delaware Health Care Commission (HCC). DPH’s contractor for this project was Green River of Brattleboro, Vermont. Future funding has been secured from DNREC for data on vulnerable populations and climate change, and from DPH through CDC grants for violent death data and internal sharing of timely substance use disorder data.

The data portal encompasses the Delaware Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (DEPHTN), and benefits from participation in an Environmental Public Health Tracking Peer-to-Peer Fellowship program through the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with the Kentucky Department of Health as DEPHTN mentor.

Delaware residents can now explore a variety of data indicators in the following categories:

• Air quality
• Public and private (well) drinking water data

Chronic Disease:
• Asthma
• Diabetes and hypertension prevalence

Mental Health and Substance Use:
• Mental health
• Suicide prevalence
• Adult excessive drinking
• Tobacco use
• Drug overdose deaths
• Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) data
• Suspected non-fatal drug overdoses
• Youth substance use
• Youth use of prescription pain medications without a prescription
• Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Healthy Lifestyles:
• Health status
• Physical activity and weight
• Sleep
• Youth nutrition

Community Safety:
• Violent and accidental deaths

Maternal and Child Health:
• Infant mortality
• Teen pregnancy
• Pre-term births
• Lead exposure

Health Services Utilization:
• Mortality amenable to health care
• Colorectal cancer screening

Infectious Disease:
• Nationally notifiable conditions
• Hepatitis C

Access the My Healthy Community data portal at Comments can be submitted via an online feedback form.


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. 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.