DPH Shares Thanksgiving COVID-19 Testing, Vaccine Closures and Safe Gathering Recommendations

DOVER, DE (Nov. 18, 2021) – The Division of Public Health (DPH) is sharing anticipated closures related to COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites, as well as recommendations for holding a safe Thanksgiving gathering.

All Public Health Clinics that offer COVID-19 vaccination will be closed Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, the clinics and Walgreens will be closed for COVID-19 testing starting Wednesday, Nov. 24.

While DPH standing vaccine sites at the Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover, Canby Park in Wilmington, Georgetown Plaza in Sussex County and Oxford/University Plaza in Newark will be closed for vaccinations, the sites will be open for Curative COVID-19 testing on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit de.gov/gettested to schedule your appointment.  Other testing and vaccine sites may be open.  Visit de.gov/getmyvaccine for a list of vaccine locations.

Additionally, over the Thanksgiving break, Delaware’s COVID-19 Call Center will be closed on Thursday and Friday, but will answer e-mails to DPHcall@delaware.gov beginning Friday, Nov. 26. The Call Center will resume answering both e-mails and calls to 1-866-408-1899 on Monday, Nov. 29.

Concerned about a winter resurgence in COVID-19 cases again this year, DPH is also sharing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on planning safer Thanksgiving gatherings. Though masking and gathering restrictions are relaxed compared to last year, the virus continues to circulate in the community.

“The rate of COVID-19 positive cases increased by 16% since last week, with the highest rates among children ages 5 to 17,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Halloween parties likely contributed to the increase. We want to get ahead of things and prevent another holiday surge.”

As of Nov. 18, more than 83% of the state’s adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data. In contrast, unvaccinated persons continue to drive case rates and hospitalizations. During the week of Nov. 1 – Nov. 7, 82% of Delaware’s hospitalizations were among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people.

Vaccination continues to be the strongest recommendation to protect yourself from COVID-19, and the biggest action you can take toward participating in a safe holiday gathering. This includes getting your first dose of the vaccine if you have not already done so, your second dose, (or third dose if you are immunocompromised), or booster dose.  Eligibility for a booster dose of the vaccine is expected to be expanded on Friday, Nov. 19, and DPH encourages individuals to monitor local news channels and de.gov/boosters for updated information.

Getting children, especially those ages 5 –11 who are newly eligible for the vaccine, vaccinated with their first dose prior to the Thanksgiving holiday is a good way to ensure they are protected. Full vaccination using the pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent protective against developing symptomatic COVID-19. No severe vaccine-related side effects or severe allergic reactions were identified during clinical trials.

Here’s are other tips for having a safe Thanksgiving holiday:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 before celebrating with a people from multiple households and different parts of the country.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or had close contact with someone who has it, stay home.  Do not host or attend a gathering.
  • Smaller gatherings are better than larger gatherings to enable you to social distance from those who are not vaccinated. Those who are unvaccinated should get tested prior to Thanksgiving to ensure they are negative for COVID-19.
  • Wear a face mask. Unvaccinated family members, including children ages 2 years and older, should wear a mask in all indoor public settings.  People with a weakened immune system, who are at increased risk for severe disease, should also mask up.
  • Communicate COVID-19 ground rules to invited guests, including expectations around testing before or after gathering, vaccination or masking requirements.
  • Gather outdoors when possible. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. Getting together for a holiday walk, flag football game, picnic, or virtual cocktails are fun alternatives to an indoor sit-down meal.
  • Do not travel unnecessarily unless you and your companions are fully vaccinated. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and must travel should follow CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

The Public Health Communications Collaborative provides tips in a simple recipe card format that is available for downloading in flyer form and social media format: https://publichealthcollaborative.org/resources/toolkit-thanksgiving-2021-safety-tips/.

Thanksgiving 2019 DUI Checkpoint Results

The statewide Thanksgiving 2019 DUI Checkpoint was a success

Dover, Del. (December 2, 2019)The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) coordinated DUI checkpoints on Thanksgiving Eve in each county statewide on November 27, from 10 PM to November 28, at 2 AM the following morning.

Checkpoint Results

Working together with the Delaware State Police and local law enforcement, OHS supported three DUI checkpoints across the state. A total of 65 officers worked 390 hours combined and saw 1,463 vehicles come through the checkpoints.

OHS is pleased to report that Thanksgiving 2019 DUI Checkpoint Strikeforce was a success. In Delaware, officers made 6 DUI arrests and netted an additional 58 traffic arrests or citations for various infractions, including 6 seatbelt assessments, 7 drug arrests and the apprehension of 1 wanted person.

“It is our goal to remove impaired drivers from Delaware roadways and prevent tragedies during this holiday season. OHS would like to thank Delaware State Police, the many local law enforcement agencies, as well as other safety partners like DelDOT for their participation with this activation of Checkpoint Strikeforce. Their continued commitment empowers our efforts during this most dangerous time of year,”Richard Klepner, Deputy Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

Upcoming Checkpoint Strikeforce

OHS will coordinate the next Checkpoint Strikeforce effort on December 14, 2019. Three DUI checkpoints will occur statewide, as well as DUI patrols, to deter individuals from driving while impaired.

You can follow the Delaware Office of Highway Safety by visiting:
Delaware Office of Highway Safety Web Site

Media Contact:
Cynthia Cavett, Marketing Specialist II & Public Information Officer
Delaware Office of Highway Safety



About the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. FAQs can be found at ArriveAliveDE.com.

DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation to offer free admission to Delaware’s state parks & Brandywine Zoo on Black Friday

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, and Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), invite the public to #OptOutside this Black Friday by visiting Delaware State Parks. This year, visitors can enjoy free entry to state parks on Black Friday, Nov. 29. The Brandywine Zoo is joining in on the outdoor fun and will also be waiving admission all day.

“The ‘Opt Outside’ event is now a tradition at DNREC’s Delaware state parks, and the numbers of visitors are increasing each year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Between the Brandywine Zoo and our parks across the state, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Those willing to forego shopping and opt instead for a day of hiking, biking, and adventuring will find more than 150 miles of trails to explore throughout Delaware, spectacular locations for bird and wildlife watching, scenic beaches, and much more.”

The Opt Outside movement, started by REI in 2015, encourages families and friends across the nation to ditch the retail madness and get outdoors on Black Friday. The 16 million-member outdoor co-op sets an example by shutting its doors, and giving its 12,000 employees a paid day off.

This is the fifth year that DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation will be participating in the event, joining more than 700 organizations and seven million people nationwide.

All Delaware state parks’ gates will open at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29, with the exception of Fort Delaware State Park, which is closed for the season. All park offices will remain closed. The Brandywine Zoo will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public can use the hashtag #OptOutside on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to show support and invite family and friends to join the movement.

Visit www.destateparks.com for park locations and more fun ideas on how to get outside on Black Friday.

Media Contact: Abby Shepard, DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation, 302-739-9220

DART 22nd Annual “Stuff The Bus” Thanksgiving Food Drive Starts Monday, November 11

DART will hold its 22nd annual “Stuff The Bus” Thanksgiving Food Drive throughout the State starting on November 11 and ending on November 16, with a goal of collecting 20 tons of non-perishable food for Delawareans in need of food assistance.  And, we need the public’s help to achieve the goal. 


“Stuff The Bus” will be collecting food at seven sites throughout the State.  The site locations, collection dates, and times are:

Monday, November 11: Acme, 18578 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth, 9 AM – 4 PM


Tuesday, November 12: Walmart, 939 N. DuPont Highway, Milford, 8 AM – 6 PM AND

Safeway, 190 John Hunn Brown Rd., Dover, 8 AM – 6 PM         

(Corner of S. Bay Rd. at S. Little Creek Rd.)


Wednesday, November 13:  NEW  ShopRite of First State Plaza, 1600 W. Newport Pike, Stanton, 9 AM – 4 PM


Thursday, November 14: Rodney Square, Market Street side, Wilmington, 7 AM – 5 PM


Friday, November 15NEW  ShopRite of Brandywine Commons, 1300 Rocky Run Parkway, Wilmington, 9 AM – 4 PM


Saturday, November 16:  NEW  ShopRite of Four Seasons, 700 Plaza Dr., Newark, 9 AM – 4 PM


As part of our annual food drive, we’ll have live radio broadcasts; come out to meet the stations’ deejays on:

Monday, November 11: Acme in Rehoboth – Delaware 105.9 will broadcast live from 11 AM – 1 PM and The Vault 103.5/106.1 will be live from 2 PM – 4 PM

Tuesday, November 12: Walmart in Milford – EAGLE 97.7 from 6 AM – 6 PM

Tuesday, November 12: Safeway in Dover – COOL 101.3 from 6 AM – 6 PM

Wednesday, November 13: ShopRite of First State Plaza – WSTW 93.7 from 10 AM – 2 PM

Thursday, November 14: Rodney Square in Wilmington – WJBR from 11 AM – 1 PM

Friday, November 15: ShopRite of Brandywine Commons – WDEL will broadcast live from 12 PM – 4 PM

Saturday, November 16: ShopRite of Four Seasons – WJBR from 11 AM – 1 PM


DART also encourages the public to donate directly to the Food Bank of Delaware; if they are unable to visit any of the “Stuff The Bus” collection sites.  For more information on donating food, contact the Food Bank at 302-292-1305, or visit their website at www.FBD.org.

The Food Bank of Delaware is a nonprofit agency committed to ending hunger in Delaware.  According to the Food Bank, annually 1 in 8 people in Delaware rely on the Food Bank’s partners and programs for food assistance and 25 percent are children. 


The Delaware Transit Corporation, a subsidiary of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), operates DART First State.  For more information, please visit www.DartFirstState.com or call 1-800-652-DARTReal-Time Bus Information and DART Pass, the mobile fare payment option, are both available on the free DART Transit App (iOS and Android). 

DPH Advises Delaware Residents of Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Involving Turkey Products


Image credit: FDA. Thermometer in cooked turkey

DOVER – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Delawareans of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Reading infections linked to raw turkey products. According to the CDC, 164 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported in 35 states, including one person in Delaware. Of the cases reported nationally, 63 people have been hospitalized. No Delawareans have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported from Delaware. One death was reported from California.

The CDC says the outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products and live turkeys. Of the 85 people interviewed, 44 (52 percent) reported preparing or eating turkey products that were purchased raw, including ground turkey, turkey pieces and whole turkey. People who were ill reported buying many different brands of raw turkey products from multiple stores. Additionally, three of the 85 people who were interviewed said they became sick after pets in their home ate raw ground turkey pet food. Another three people interviewed worked in a facility that raises or processes turkeys, or lived with someone who did.

A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday period, the CDC is not advising consumers to avoid eating properly cooked turkey, and is not advising retailers to stop selling raw turkey products. However, individuals should follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw turkey:

  • Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and will make you sick.
  • Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
  • Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they are touched by raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
  • CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.
  • Thaw turkey (https://www.cdc.gov/features/turkeytime/index.html) in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.

Most people with Salmonella infections develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. Children younger than 5, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

People who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention.

For more information about this outbreak, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/reading-07-18/index.html . For more information about preventing Salmonella infection, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/prevention.html.

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.

The 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.