The state’s response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and related changes to life in Delaware continues to unfold at a head-spinning pace each day. Here are some key updates from Tuesday:
Eight more cases; state total is 16
The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced eight additional positive cases of coronavirus bringing the statewide total to 16.
Seven of the eight individuals are New Castle County residents, and one is the first reported case in Sussex County. Four of these individuals are males, and four are females. All but one is self-isolating at home; one in New Castle County is hospitalized.
Six of the seven New Castle County residents participated in the ChristianaCare Health System drive-thru testing event. The Sussex County resident had a travel-related exposure. The source of the exposure of the remaining individuals is under investigation.
Carney asks for federal support.
Governor John Carney formally requested the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provide Delaware an Economy Injury Declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations across the state.
In his letter to the SBA, Governor Carney said the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on small businesses would likely be significant. Yesterday Carney directed for the closure of restaurants and bars except for take out service, which will impact tens of thousands of jobs in one of the state’s largest industries.
Once the state’s application to the SBA is approved, the low-interest loans of up to $2 million per business will be available for many small businesses and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The loans may be used for working capital expenses such as payroll, fixed debts and accounts payable, as well as other bills the business or nonprofit is currently unable to pay because of the impact of COVID-19.
Unemployment benefits expanded.
In accordance with the Governor’s amended State of Emergency declaration, the Labor Secretary Cerron Cade issued new guidelines to enhance the flexibility of Delaware’s unemployment insurance program to provide cash assistance to many Delaware workers whose employment has been impacted directly by coronavirus [COVID-19] and who would not typically qualify for benefits.
The new Unemployment Insurance guidelines allow:
Workers to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to curtail or shut down operations temporarily because of the Governor’s State of Emergency declaration or the coronavirus outbreak.
A worker who has been ordered by a medical doctor to self-quarantine as a result, or due to risk of exposure to coronavirus COVID-19 will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Parents or guardians who have been forced to quit or take unpaid leave from their jobs to care for children due to the Governor’s emergency closure of schools will be eligible for benefits.
Workers who have been forced to quit or take unpaid leave to care for a loved one who has contracted coronavirus COVID-19 will be eligible for benefits.
If a worker falls ill to COVID-19 and is unable to work, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Part-time workers may be eligible for benefits.
The definition of weekly work search requirements will expand to include a wide variety of activities that meet the requirement, unemployment insurance deadlines may be modified for mandatory appointments, and applying for training programs or mandatory re-employment service appointments and workshops.