Frequently Asked Questions



A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. It is named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
  • We are in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other local, state, and national partners to share information.
  • We have sent information to health care providers around the state with current recommendations for screening and testing for COVID-19, as well as to EMS and home health care providers regarding proper protection procedures.
  • We are holding frequent calls with staff and our state and health care provider partners to stay up to date with the latest updates.
  • We are sharing messaging with partners and the public as it becomes available.
  • This is a rapidly evolving situation, so information and recommendations are likely to change quickly as well. We will continue to learn more in the coming days and share new information as it is available.
  • Through the air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
  • Individuals 60 years of age and older.
  • Individuals with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease.
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised or have medical needs.
  • Individuals with access or functional needs.
  • Individuals who are homeless or experience housing instability.
For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms (similar to the common cold) to people being severely ill and dying:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • If you experience all three symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), call your health care provider before you go in-person to the clinic or doctor’s office.
  • Your health care professional will work with the Delaware Division of Public Health to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Stay home, rest, and avoid others. Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications.
  • Fourteen days is the presumed incubation period for this virus, so remaining at home and avoiding groups for this time will ensure that you do not spread the virus in the community if you develop symptoms.
  • If you are unsure what you should do, contact the Division of Public Health Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 to discuss your concerns and next steps.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that Americans should brace for the likelihood that the virus will continue to spread in the U.S.
  • To help protect those who are most vulnerable, adhere to the CDC recommendations for social distancing (6 to 10 feet away from one another) and cancel or reschedule unnecessary travel, gatherings, and community engagement.
  • If you are worried, self-monitor for symptoms. As soon as you experience all three symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), call your health care provider.
  • More information is available at
  • Delawareans are under stay-at-home orders, unless they are essential workers. Approved activities include going to the grocery store, pharmacy, going on a walk outside, or other essential activities. We all need to work together to flatten the curve of this virus, so please stay home as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and hot water. If you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow, and if you use a tissue, throw it away immediately.
  • If you are sick, stay isolate from others in your household.
  • Check the "What You Can Do" section of this website for updates.
  • CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in many states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection. There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel.
  • Check the CDC website for more information:
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. There have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • Check the CDC website for more information:
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should immediately call ahead to their health care provider before visiting a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital in person.
People can fight stigma and help, not hurt, others by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop stigma.
You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Delawareans should refrain from organizing or attending social gatherings of any size, except for regular interactions with immediate family members, members of the same household, caregivers, or individuals with whom you have a close personal relationship.
  • Event hosts should review the potential risks and cancel all “non-essential mass gatherings” of 50 people or more. CDC event guidance strongly emphasizes that those at highest risk (over age 60 and with chronic health conditions) not attend gatherings. Gatherings, if held, should provide the following: adequate space allowing 6 feet between individuals; adequate air flow; warm water and soap along with hand sanitizer stations; signage that emphasizes that ill individuals not attend; and a process in place to manage an ill individual safely.
  • As of March 13, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. E.S.T., Division of Public Health and Delaware Emergency Management Agency are authorized to cancel gatherings should it be deemed necessary for public health reasons, and such cancellations shall not constitute a taking and shall not entitle the owner or organizer to just compensation.
The CDC says early data suggests that people 60 and older are twice as likely to suffer a serious illness from coronavirus disease than younger people. For seniors and people with serious chronic health conditions such as heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer, the CDC recommends that they “avoid crowds as much as possible.” Other suggestions:
  • Stay home as much as possible and avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated space.
  • Stock up on supplies, including medications, food and other household items.
  • When you go out in public, including to doctor appointments or dialysis, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • Have a plan if you get sick, and communicate often with relatives, friends or neighbors.
  • For more information, see the CDC’s recommendations.
Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
For more complete guidance on COVID-19 and pets, please click here.
Individuals with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must maintain home isolation until at least 3 days have passed since recovery began -- defined as the end of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., the end of their cough and/or shortness of breath); and, at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. After discontinuation of home isolation, persons must continue to avoid sustained close contact with others, maintain strict social distancing and hand hygiene, and not return to work for an additional 4 days (for a total of 7 days without symptoms) due to the possible risk of continued infectiousness. Persons may return to work after this 7-day period, however, they should continue to recognize the risk of infectiousness and self-monitor for symptoms.




  • No, it does not, and no such paperwork is needed. A full list of essential industries can be found here. If your business activity is on that list, your business is permitted to remain open as long as it follows all necessary CDC guidelines for safety at this time.
  • Staffing questions should be addressed between employers and employees. As long as employers are following applicable guidelines on both leave and on the recent essential designation, then employees should handle any requests directly with employers.
  • The easiest way is to use the four-digit NAICS code associated with the business. If you are the owner of the business, you can locate your NAICS code by a) looking at your unemployment insurance forms, b) looking at your most recent tax returns, or c) searching Google for your industry followed by the term “NAICS code”.
  • If you are not the owner of your business, please contact your manager or other appropriate employment supervisor and ask them for clarification on the business status.
  • Failure to follow CDC guidelines will result in closure on an individual firm basis until the State of Emergency is lifted. Businesses who continue to operate even if they have been deemed non-essential will be given an initial grace if their failure to comply was done after a good faith effort to clarify their status, but those who do not comply and knowingly do so will be subject to civil and in some cases criminal penalties.
  • Follow the least restrictive code. If one code is deemed essential while others are not, the business should be considered essential unless further clarification has been given by the state to you directly or through an industry trade group.
  • The NAICS code that should be used is the NAICS code that the business had for their most recent unemployment and/or tax filings prior to the issuance of the State of Emergency. A business classified as non-essential who changes or adds a NAICS code in order to fall under the essential category will be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as a company that knowingly fails to comply with the order.


Unemployment Benefits


Workers should file for benefits on our website at Questions can be emailed to File an appeal, request an address change or complete fact finding documents on our claimant portal at
Work search requirements will be waived during the state of emergency for claimants filing for benefits as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Unemployment benefits are proportionately charged to each employer based on weeks worked and wages earned in each individual’s base period. Contributory employers could see an increase in their tax rate, which Could result in higher taxes. Reimbursing employers would be charged dollar for dollar for benefits paid, which could result in higher than expected unemployment costs. Employers are able to apply for a rehire credit.
If the president of the United States declares the coronavirus a national disaster, and if individuals experience a loss of work as a result, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits and/or Disaster Unemployment Assistance. If Delaware launches the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program the public will be notified.
In most cases, yes. However, the agency recognizes the burden placed on the health care industry during this time and will waive this requirement during the state of emergency
Delaware will consider this employee temporarily laid off during the state of emergency. The employee should return to work as soon as they are released. If work is no longer available after the employee is released for work or the employee fails to return to work the agency will make a new determination.
Delaware would treat this situation as a temporary layoff. The employee should make every reasonable attempt to preserve their health so they are able to return to work once released.
Delaware no longer has a waiting week. Claimants should submit a weekly pay authorization the Sunday after a claim is filed and every week thereafter even if they have not yet received a payment.

Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria. Employees who are working reduced hours may be eligible and must report their gross wages at the time they are earned, not paid. Delaware makes no distinction between part time and full time employees who are completely unemployed.


Stay at Home Order


  • The Stay at Home Order started Tuesday morning on March 24, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and is scheduled to last until May 15, 2020, or until the public health threat is eliminated.
  • The Stay at Home Order requires that people remain in their homes or places of residence and avoid going out in public unless they are engaged in an “Essential Activity” or “Essential Travel.”
  • Delaware’s Governor, John Carney, as part of several adjustments to ensure the public health during this pandemic.
  • The Stay at Home Order is needed to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (also known as COVID-19) in Delaware. Unless we all take steps to reduce the spread of this illness, Delaware’s health care systems will have more sick people than they can care for.  By staying home and reducing your activities, you can help reduce the rate of spread of this illness in Delaware and avoid overburdening our health care systems.
  • People who violate an emergency order can be fined up to $500 or subject to imprisonment for up to six (6) months for each violation.
  • The Stay at Home Order will last until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.
  • Yes, but only for Essential Activities or Essential Travel. If you leave your home, you must still practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.
  • Maintain at least a six-foot distance from other people who are not in your household
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer
  • Cover coughs or sneezes by sneezing into a tissue or your inner elbow (not your hands)
  • Regularly clean high-touch surfaces
  • Do not shake hands
  • Follow all CDC recommendations available at
  • Unless we all take steps to reduce the spread of this illness, Delaware’s healthcare systems will have more sick people than our hospitals can support. While the symptoms are often less severe in the young, young and healthy people can become infected and transmit the virus to others.  We need everyone to be cautious and practice social distancing.
  • No, social distancing is not required between members of the same household, caregivers, or individuals with whom you have a close personal relationship.
  • Essential Activities are activities that are necessary for you to maintain your health, and the health and wellbeing of your family members, including pets. Here are some examples of Essential Activities:
    • getting medical care and medical supplies, such as prescriptions
    • buying food, household supplies, and pet supplies
    • caring for family members, friends, or pets in other households
    • doing laundry at a laundromat or dry cleaner
    • exercising and going outside, such as walking, running, biking, fishing, or walking your dog
  • Essential Travel is any travel necessary for an Essential Activity. Here are some examples of Essential Travel:
    • travel to care for, or deliver supplies to, elderly persons, children, and people with disabilities
    • travel to purchase food and other household supplies
    • travel to care for pets
    • travel to schools and other educational institutions where the travel is necessary to receive materials for distance learning, receiving meals, or any other related services
    • travel necessary to return to your home or place of residence in Delaware
    • travel necessary to return to your home or place of residence outside of Delaware
    • travel to comply with a court order, including a custody agreement
    • travel to work for those businesses deemed essential to remain open
  • Outdoor exercise like walking, running, hiking and fishing is allowed. When you are outside, you should still practice social distancing by running or walking at least six feet away from other people.
  • Yes, but you should still practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.
  • Most public playgrounds are closed and should be avoided. Additionally, you should avoid using basketball courts with other people, or using jungle gyms because they are not being wiped down between children who may climb on them.  Remember, while exercising or playing outside, you should still practice social distancing by keeping six feet away from other people.
  • Yes, but only to exercise or walk your dog where dogs are permitted, and you should still practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people. Many towns have closed areas near beaches, like boardwalks and parking lots.
  • No, Delaware campgrounds are closed at this time.
  • Encourage her to stay home, call each other on the phone, or use FaceTime, Skype, or another video call option. Remember that you can travel to care for or deliver supplies to elderly persons, children, and people with disabilities, but not for social visits.
  • Groceries stores are open and are essential businesses. You are permitted to go to the store as needed to pick up what you need, including food, groceries, formula, and diapers, and toilet paper. Sellers have repeatedly indicated that there is plenty of supply and there is no reason to over-purchase.
  • Yes, takeout and delivery from restaurants is permitted in Delaware at this time.
  • No, special permission or documentation is not required to drive in Delaware at this time.


Testing and Symptoms


  • To be tested, a referral from your provider is required. (*Bayhealth patients will be pre-screened via phone without needing to see a provider first). Symptoms include: fever AND either cough OR difficulty breathing, body aches and sore throat. Contact your primary care provider if you have one. Those without a healthcare provider should call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899.
  • Further info:
  • If you have a primary care provider, please call them for further information. If you do not have a health care provider, please call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899.
  • Due to restrictions in HIPAA and state privacy laws, the Division of Public Health is not permitted to provide that information. If you are identified as contact of someone who tested positive in a high-risk setting (like a nursing home), the Division of Public Health will reach out to you.
  • Call your provider before your appointment to see if they are still conducting appointments. Many providers offer telemedicine services, call them in advance to find out if this is a service they offer. If you are unwell, please let your provider know and follow their guidance.

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