Enjoy a Healthy and Safe Independence Day


DOVER – As American flags fly in preparation of the Fourth of July holiday, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans to celebrate healthily, without injuries or foodborne illness.

Serve healthy foods and beverages. Include more fruits and vegetables and fewer sugary beverages on the buffet table. With Delaware’s obesity rate doubling in the past 20 years, it is important to serve meals that are low in empty calories and heart healthy. The DE HEAL website, at www.deheal.org, features a section about sugary beverages. Or browse recipes on the American Heart Association’s website, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyCooking/Simple-Cooking-with-Heart-Home-Page_UCM_430043_SubHomePage.jsp.

Use sunscreen. To protect skin from sunburn now and skin cancer later, wear SPF 15 or higher sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection. Visit ProtectYourSkinDE.com, a DPH website filled with colorful, informative posts. The site includes a directory of dermatologists in Delaware. Follow these additional skin cancer prevention tips:
• Stay in the shade, especially during mid-day hours.
• Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
• Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
• Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
• Avoid indoor tanning.
• Wear lip balm and makeup products that have an SPF of 15 or higher.

Avoid injuries. Leave fireworks displays to the experts. In Delaware, it is illegal to possess or discharge fireworks, and only permitted companies can hold fireworks displays.

Protect pets. It is best to leave pets at home, where they are safe and sound, instead of including them in Fourth of July celebrations. Loud fireworks displays can terrify pets, causing them to run, putting them at risk of being hit by a car or becoming lost. Exposure to lit fireworks and firework fumes can also be hazardous to man’s best friend.

Use common sense when grilling. Only use gas or charcoal grills outdoors, never in a garage, or on a porch or balcony. Charcoal and gas grills produce carbon monoxide, a fatal odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas. When using charcoal grills, only use a small amount of charcoal starter fuel, never add fuel once the fire starts, and wet ashes with water before emptying the grill. For gas grills, cylinders should be stored outside in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight and transported on the floor of vehicles ─ not the trunk ─ in an upright position with all windows open. Check connections with soapy water and tighten leaking connections if bubbles form.

Prevent foodborne illness. No one likes to get sick at a cook-out! Before preparing the meal, wash hands with soap and warm water. Thoroughly clean sinks, cutting boards, and utensils, and then sanitize them with a mixture of one teaspoon bleach to one gallon of water. Follow these additional food safety tips:
• Defrost and marinate meat and poultry in the refrigerator.
• If marinade is to be used on cooked food, reserve some marinade before putting raw foods in it.
• When transporting food, use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep food at 40F or below.
• Refrigerate food and poultry until use.
• Use separate platters for meat and poultry, and use different platters and utensils for raw and cooked items.
• Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything two hours or older.
• Refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
• When cooking, have beef and poultry reach these safe minimum internal temperatures:
o Whole poultry, poultry breasts, and ground poultry – 165F.
o Hamburgers, beef, and all cuts of pork – 160F.
o Beef, veal, lamb (roasts, steaks, and chops) – 145F, medium rare.

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, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Delaware Health and Social ServicesDivision of Public Health

General Assembly Passes All Four Bills on Attorney General’s Internet Privacy and Safety Agenda

DOVER, DE – The Delaware General Assembly on Thursday passed the third and fourth parts of the four-part internet privacy and safety package proposed by Attorney General Matt Denn and a bipartisan group of legislators. The package of bills, proposed in April, will now to go the Governor for his signature, and will be enforced by the Delaware Department of Justice.

The bills prevent educational software companies from misusing or improperly disclosing the personal data of Delaware schoolchildren; prevent companies from advertising inappropriate products on websites directed at children; prevent employers from inappropriately demanding access to the social media accounts of employees or job applicants; require web sites to clearly disclose how they are using the personal data they collect about web site users; place restrictions on the ability of companies to disclose the reading habits of e-book readers; and prevent the location of crime victims whose addresses have been changed for their protection from being disclosed on the internet.

Passage of the bills through the General Assembly was a difficult process, with with opposition and issues raised at various times by internet providers, social media companies, and the National Rifle Association.

“I am very grateful to the sponsors of these bills for standing up to a great deal of pressure and doing the right thing for Delawareans, especially children,” Attorney General Denn said. “If these bills are signed by the Governor, we are going to vigorously enforce them to make Delaware the safest state in America for kids to use the internet.”

Delaware Online Privacy and Protection Act – Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 68 sponsored by Sen. Patricia Blevins and Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf

This bill expands the legal protections available under Delaware law to individuals, in particular children, relating to their online and digital activities. It prohibits marketing certain age-restricted products and services such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and body-piercing to children on websites or mobile apps directed to children, and it prohibits using a child’s personal information to market those products and services to that child. It also requires commercial websites and online apps that collect personally identifiable information about users to post a privacy policy explaining what information the website or online app collects and what it does with that information. Finally, the bill restricts the ability of online book service providers from disclosing information about customers’ reading choices without a court order, since what people read can reveal or imply much about them.

“This bill simply ensures that products and services that are intended for adults are not marketed toward children,” said Senate President Pro Tem Patricia Blevins. “These are common-sense safeguards that will protect our kids.”

“Decades ago, cigarette companies advertised on television, where they could easily reach children. Government put a stop to that practice. Today, we have children and teens using social media sites and being bombarded with ads for alcohol, tobacco products, weapons and other things that are not appropriate — or even legal — for people that age,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “This bill will be an important tool in protecting our children from these ads and also addressing the issue of companies collecting our personally identifiable information and how they use it.”

Student Data Privacy Protection Act – Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 79 sponsored by Sen. David Sokola and Reps. Earl Jaques and Michael Ramone

This bill enables students and educators in Delaware public schools to use technology to enhance student educational opportunities without compromising the privacy and security of student data. The bill prohibits education technology service providers from selling student data, using student data to engage in targeted advertising to students or their families, amassing a profile on students to be used for non-educational purposes, or disclosing student data except as permitted by the bill. The bill requires education technology service providers to have reasonable procedures and practices for ensuring the security of student data they collect or maintain, protecting that student data from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure, and deleting the student data if appropriately requested to do so by a school or school district. The bill also establishes a Student Data Privacy Task Force to study and make findings and recommendations regarding the development and implementation of a comprehensive framework to govern the privacy, protection, accessibility, and use of student data at all levels of the State’s public education system.

“This legislation strikes the right balance between protecting the privacy of our children and acknowledging our school’s needs to track their academic progress,” said Sen. David Sokola, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “The Department of Education and the Internet service providers it contracts with have a responsibility to protect that data, and Senate Bill 79 codifies that. It’s a good law, and I’m pleased it received bi-partisan support.”

“It is paramount that educational data is safeguarded as well as we protect our credit card info. Students and parents alike should expect and demand it from us,” said Rep. Earl Jaques. “We need to protect our children as these new technologies invade our everyday lives, and the Online Privacy & Protection Act will take important steps toward that goal.”

State Representative Mike Ramone stated, “Thank you to my colleagues for approving SS 1 for SB 79. As I have said before, I believe that the privacy of both students and their parents and guardians should not be compromised once the student walks inside a school building. This legislation is designed to put necessary safeguards in place for our students and their families while they are in our public school system.”

Victim Online Privacy Act – House Bill 102 sponsored by Sen. Blevins and Reps. Michael Barbieri and Deborah Hudson

This bill is an extension of the Department Of Justice Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as material witnesses, and members of their households. Under this bill, it will be unlawful to publicly display, post online, or solicit, sell, or trade online the address, image, or telephone number of a participant in DOJ’s Address Confidentiality Program for the purpose of inciting someone to commit violence or harm against that person or members of their household. It will also outlaw a person’s ability to publicly display or post such information online if the program participant or their representative has made a written demand on the person to stop.

“This legislation gives law enforcement another tool to protect the victims of violent crimes,” said Sen. Blevins. “Using the internet to threaten revenge or intimidate a victim is criminal and this makes that clear in our code.”

“Our landscape is changing and the internet provides us great opportunities but also many threats,” said Rep. Michael Barbieri. “We need to make sure that our laws make sure that we do not use this new technology to harm people who are most vulnerable, our children and victims of crime.”

Rep. Deborah Hudson said, “I am pleased to see House Bill 102 pass the legislature and I look forward to this measure being enacted in the near term. This legislation is very much needed and will go a long way in ensuring that a crime victim’s identity is protected and that they remain safe.”

Employee/Applicant Protection for Social Media – House Bill 109 sponsored by Sen. Bryan Townsend and Rep. Bryon Short

This bill will protect the online activities of Delawareans by prohibiting employers from requiring employees, or applicants, to disclose information that would give the employer access to their personal social media accounts, to log in so the employer may view such accounts, to accept a “friend” request from the employer, or to disable privacy settings on those accounts. The bill respects employers’ rights to investigate and penalize conduct which harms or reflects poorly on the employer. The bill does not restrict employers’ existing control over accounts created for their business purposes and the activities of their employees on such accounts, any electronic device issued or paid for by the company, and their own networks.

“Delaware has now taken the important step of updating its privacy laws and protecting employees’ social media privacy rights,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend. “I thank Attorney General Denn and his team for their work on this increasingly important issue and for helping to strike a fair balance between employer and employee rights.”

“Delaware’s laws have to catch up with technology and the way Delawareans use social media on a daily basis. Our social media accounts contain much of our private lives, and it’s critically important that we make sure that private information stays private if we wish it to be,” said Rep. Bryon Short. “House Bill 109 is an important part of that goal and it’s an important step for Delaware.”

Attorney General Denn also recognized and thanked Deputy Attorney General Christian Wright of the Consumer Fraud Division for his work on the legislation.

Attorney General and Wilmington Police to Hold Community Meeting on Foot Patrols

WILMINGTON, DE – Attorney General Matt Denn announced today that he and leaders of the Wilmington Police Department will be holding a community meeting next week in the high-crime area where the city’s foot patrol project has been active for the past month. The purpose of the meeting is to give community residents an opportunity to provide feedback to law enforcement on how we can help keep Wilmington safe.

The meeting will occur on Monday, June 29th, from 6:30 – 7:45pm at Central Baptist Church, 839 N. Pine Street. This is the area where foot patrols have been active for the past month because of statistically high violent crime rates in prior months. It is also the home of East Side Rising, which unites community members with public & private stakeholders to form a collaborative for the purpose of revitalizing the Eastside of Wilmington, through housing improvements, workforce development, and economic empowerment.

The foot patrols are the result of a grant that the City of Wilmington and Attorney General Denn received from the state’s Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund. Under the grant, seven officers patrol high-crime areas of Wilmington on foot from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., seven nights a week. To date, most of the overtime officers have been Wilmington Police Department officers.

Delaware Update on Ebola Prevention and Preparation

Dover, DE – Joined by the State’s top health officials, along with infectious disease and emergency response experts, Governor Markell today provided an update on ongoing statewide efforts in response to the Ebola virus epidemic.Ebola Media Briefing

“We are facing an unprecedented situation with the Ebola virus, making prevention and preparation efforts vital,” said Governor Markell. “While the risk of transmission in Delaware is low, the State has been preparing for the potential of any Ebola cases for months to ensure we are in the best possible position to keep the public safe.”

While there are no cases in Delaware and the risk of transmission is low, the Division of Public Health (DPH) in the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is working to ensure the appropriate screening tools and disease prevention strategies are used to further reduce any chance of transmission. These tools and strategies are based on the best currently available science, which tells us that Ebola virus is only transmitted by infected patients who have symptoms. The risk of getting the disease through normal, everyday contact is extremely low.

DPH is working closely with hospitals, medical providers, EMS companies, and many other partners to prepare, coordinate care, and provide advice and guidance. Issues being addressed by this group include how to screen for the disease, safe ambulance transportation of potential Ebola patients, personal protective equipment guidance and availability, hospital readiness, infectious disease monitoring, and protocols for any doctor’s office that might see a case.

“Delaware’s hospitals know that the best way to address Ebola is to prevent its spread. The Division’s approach to doing that is sound, science-based, and will help protect both Delawareans and the health care professionals who care for them,” said Wayne Smith, President and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association.

In addition, the Governor has directed engagement from all cabinet-level agencies to ensure statewide efforts are coordinated and comprehensive.

“If a case is confirmed in Delaware, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rapid response team would be on the ground to assist us,” said Secretary Rita Landgraf. “They would support the Division of Public Health to trace any potential contacts who might need to be monitored, have activity restrictions or, although unlikely, be quarantined. The CDC also would work with the State and the hospitals to determine if the ill patient should be moved out of state for treatment.”

In coordination with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), DPH is receiving notice of all travelers from the three West African countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

DPH is in daily contact with those persons to check their status and health, and will remain in daily contact throughout the 21-day period following their last potential Ebola exposure. If anyone shows symptoms of illness or a fever, they will be taken to the closest hospital for evaluation, and, if needed, isolation and testing. Currently there are 11 individuals in Delaware who are considered low risk that are being monitored. Eight live in New Castle County and three live in Kent County. “Low risk” is defined as having no known direct contact with a person infected with the Ebola virus.

Delaware is also designating “high risk” and “some risk” categories for those who have had direct contact with a person or people symptomatic with the Ebola virus. (See attached) These individuals will receive direct active monitoring for the 21-day incubation period by Division of Public Health staff, including daily visits. “High risk” individuals must also be quarantined at home and “some risk” individuals must limit their activities, including avoiding public transportation and large gatherings, and seeking approval from DPH to travel.

DHSS urges people not to make assumptions that someone might be infected based on their accent, background or skin color, and it is important to remember how hard the disease is to transmit.

If you wish to discuss a suspected case, you may contact DPH 24/7 at 888-295-5156, including weekends and holidays. If you have general questions, the CDC has a 24/7 line available for information on the Ebola virus at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Photos from Ebola Briefing

Video from Ebola Briefing

Ebola Monitoring Fact Sheet

For further Ebola information and resources visit the Delaware Public Health homepage.

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 here.

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, drink almost no sugary beverages.

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Storm Report #2 – Tuesday Evening January 21 (9:30pm)

(Smyrna) – A State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning remain in effect for the entire State of Delaware, declared at 2pm by Governor Jack Markell, who previously ordered state offices closed at noon, sending all non-essential personnel home.  The Delaware Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated at noon, and Governor Markell has issued a verbal authorization permitting the Delaware Guard to take responsive and precautionary actions directed by the director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), in consultation with Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Louis Schiliro, upon request by local authorities.

The Delaware Code defines a Level 1 Driving Warning in this manner: “Level 1 Driving Warning: A “Level 1 Driving Warning” shall mean that any person operating a motor vehicle when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated shall exercise extra caution in the operation of their motor vehicle. Nonessential employees, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle on the State’s roadways when a Level 1 Driving Warning has been activated, unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.”

The National Weather Service says significant snowfall will taper off through the overnight period from west to east as bitterly cold air settles into the area.  As the storm continues to get stronger, winds will become gusty, which will result in areas of blowing and drifting snow.  As the storm moves out of the area, bitterly cold air will continue tonight and Wednesday.

In New Castle County, the Winter Storm Warning continues in effect until 6am Wednesday morning, while the Wind Chill Advisory will be effective from 1am until 11am Wednesday.

Snow amounts are forecast from 8-14 inches in New Castle County.  The higher amounts of snow will generally be closer to the Delaware River.  Snow will taper off overnight.  Travel will remain hazardous due to snow covered roadways, low visibility and drifting, and will continue through Wednesday morning.  The commute on Wednesday morning will be impacted by blowing and drifting snow, especially in open areas.  In the meantime, winds will be out of the north at 15-25 MPH with gusts open to 35 MPH, changing later to northwest.  Temperatures will be in the teens, dropping to single digits overnight, and wind chills will be as low as 15 degrees below zero.

For Kent and Sussex Counties, the Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6am Wednesday, while the Wind Chill Advisory will be effective from 1am until 11am Wednesday.

Snow totals in Kent County are now forecast at 6-8 inches, with 4-6 inches expected in Sussex County.  Snow will gradually taper off overnight, but travel will be hazardous because of slippery roads, low visibility and blowing and drifting snow.  Those conditions will affect the Wednesday morning commute.

Actual snow accumulations vary from nearly 9 inches near Hockessin (Northern New Castle County) to less than an inch near Selbyville (Sussex County) with just over 3.5 inches in the Dover area (Kent County).

Winds will come from the north at 15-25 MPH, with gusts up to 40 MPH, then move from the northwest.  Temperatures will fall from the teens to the single digits, with wind chills as low as 15 degrees below zero.

The speed limit on Interstate 495 has been reduced to 45 MPH.  In Kent County, major roads are covered with snow, ice and slush, with heavy snow falling at times.  Major roads in Sussex County are generally reported to be wet with light snow, and a minimal accumulation so far.  All bridges are open, but the speed limit on the Delaware Memorial Bridge has been lowered to 30 MPH.

There have not been any reports of widespread power outages in the state; however residents should be prepared in the event that high winds and snow accumulations bring down power lines.

All school districts in Delaware will be closed on Wednesday, January 22nd.