Coronavirus Cases at 26, Includes High School Student; Legislature Postpones Session

Governor John Carney and Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services

Just one week after State public health authorities announced the first coronavirus case in Delaware, officials said today there are now 26 total laboratory-confirmed cases in the state. 

Twenty are from New Castle County, three are from Kent, and three are from Sussex.

Three of the individuals with the virus are now hospitalized; two are in Kent, with one of those listed as being in critical condition. The third hospitalized patient resides in New Castle County.

Of these cases, 14 are male and 12 are female, and the individuals range in age from 18 to 80.

 

The Red Clay School District said one of the new cases was an 18-year-old student at Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington.  Cab Calloway official Julie Rumschlag said the student is “doing well,” according to Delawareonline, and has not been in the school since March 6.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), said the increase in test-positive numbers is reflective of increased infection as well as stepped-up testing measures. “In addition to the Division of Public Health laboratories being able to do testing, a number of commercial labs are now able to do testing, and so many Delawareans were tested over the last week,” she said at an outdoor press conference this afternoon in Wilmington.

 

Dr. Rattay said there are additional Delawareans who should be tested for the coronavirus, and she reminded the public of the symptoms they should look for: fever and cough and shortness of breath. 

While COVID-19 testing has gradually ramped up, the state continues to prioritize those who can receive it. Dr. Rattay said today that is is important that those who are most ill, like those who are hospitalized, are tested as well as those who are the highest risk groups — like those over age, 60 as well as those chronic underlying conditions.

DPH also urges first responders and health care providers with any coronavirus symptoms to seek testing right away. “We really implore all Delawareans to distance yourself from other people make sure that you stay at least six feet away from other individuals,” said Dr. Rattay.

Summarizing the extraordinary turn of events over the last week, Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services, remarked at today’s press briefing, “The coronavirus is truly a challenge and a profound shock to our normal sense of being. This coronavirus has quickly and comprehensively changed the way we live our lives,” she said.

The climbing toll of Delawareans infected with COVID-19 led House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf  and  Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride to announce Wednesday that the Delaware General Assembly would not be resuming the legislative postponing session “until further notice.”

 

The current session was scheduled to pick back up on Tuesday but had been postponed last week due to uncertainty around the spread of the virus.

In a statement, the legislative leaders said, “it is possible that session could resume normal operations at some point in the future, there is no firm date at this time.”  The leaders said they would continue to monitor the situation, but meanwhile were preparing plans that will be used in the event lawmakers must reconvene to pass legislation that addresses the effects of coronavirus on Delawareans and state government.

The General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass an operating budget by June 30, and plans are being discussed to meet that obligation should this State of Emergency stretch well into the spring.

 

Legislative Hall remains closed to the public, with no tours or in-person meetings taking place.

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  [email protected]

 


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