State shifts to permanent COVID testing sites, at-home tests for some

A New Castle County COVID-19 testing worker brings a DIY test to a patient, who will swab his or her own mouth. Photo by Betsy Price

At a recent New Castle County COVID-19 drive-thru testing, a worker brings a DIY test to a patient, who will swab his or her own mouth. Photo by Betsy Price

You won’t have to play “Where’s Waldo” any more if you want to find a Delaware site to be tested for COVID-19.

The state announced Friday that it will shift COVID-19 testing from mobile sites that change weekly to fixed sites, starting Monday. They will include eight Walgreens locations, six Public Health clinics and five state service centers.

The state also is offering in-home tests to:

  • Those who are older than 60.
  • Anyone who lives in Newark or Dover.
  • Students at the University of Delaware or Delaware State University.
  • Anyone who lives in Wilmington zip codes 19801, 19802 and 19805.
  • Anyone who lives in New Castle zip code 19720.
  • Anyone who attended the Sept. 6 rodeo in Bridgeville.

Click here to learn more about in-home tests.

Officials say the changes will expand testing opportunities and offer more testing locations across the state.

New Castle County permanent COVID-19 testing sites

The state Service Centers and Public Health clinics will be open Monday through Friday. All of the Walgreens are open Monday through Saturday. Four Walgreens also will be open on Sundays: Selbyville, Bridgeville, Middletown and Maryland Avenue in Wilmington.

The transition comes as the Department of Public Health announced Friday that Delaware is continuing to see an increase in daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths after what had been weeks of declines.

 

Both daily cases and hospitalizations had gone down in the last month. They started rising again before Labor Day, perhaps because thousands of teachers and students were getting tested ahead of classes beginning.

Through 6 p.m. Thursday, Delaware has had 18,559 positive cases, DPH said. The seven-day average of people who tested positive jumped from 4.6 percent to 5.8 percent as of Thursday. The state would like to get it to 3 percent. A press release said 66 people are hospitalized now, up eight from the previous week, and 16 are considered critically ill.

New Castle County permanent COVID-19 testing sites

Some of the rise in cases last week could be related to events during Labor Day weekend, the last big party weekend of the summer.

But state health officials also are worried about a rodeo in Bridgeville that had as many as 2,000 people in attendance. Social media photos show people ignoring mask and social distancing guidelines. The state has asked everyone who attended to be tested to try to stop the virus from spreading in the community.

New Castle County and the state of Delaware have been offering free testing for anyone who wanted a test since late spring. Testing sessions have been held at schools, churches, community centers, parks and more. The sites changed each week, and the state, county and city of Wilmington issued press releases about where testing would be, and also kept lists online.

 

The numbers of people being tested at some of those mobile sites have dropped by about 30 percent in the last month, A.J. Schall Jr., director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, said during Tuesday’s press conference.

“Delaware has one of the most effective COVID-19 testing programs in the country, and these updates to our statewide plan will make testing even more accessible for all Delawareans,” said Gov. John Carney in the press release announcing the changes. “The fact is, testing for COVID-19 is the best way to track the spread of this virus across our state and country. It’s also the way we contain potential outbreaks. Please consider getting a free test.”

Sussex County permanent COVID-19 testing sites

The full list of testing locations, hours, and registration options will continue to be available on Delaware’s COVID-19 website at de.gov/gettested

Registration varies by the venue, but Walgreens sites do not require advanced registration. Individuals can register in advance for testing at the State Service Center locations at Delaware.curativeinc.com while appointments at public health clinics can be made by calling the listed phone numbers. 

 

All testing is free, with results expected in 48-72 hours.  Types of tests vary by location but include saliva-based tests and swabs placed just inside the nostrils.

In addition to these state sites, COVID-19 testing continues to be available through most Delaware hospitals, private labs, primary care providers, some urgent care centers,  and Federally Qualified Health Centers for vulnerable populations. 


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Betsy Price