Testing

Anyone can get tested for COVID-19 – even those without symptoms. Immediate testing is highly encouraged for those with symptoms. Testing is also highly encouraged for anyone who was told by a Delaware Contact Tracer, that they may have been exposed to, or were a contact of, someone with COVID-19. Close contacts should only be tested AFTER their recommended 14-day quarantine period has ended, because the test may become positive at any point during the 14 days after exposure.

Lastly, those with frequent or high-risk contact with others including health care workers, first responders, those in the hospitality (food/hotel) industry, and critical infrastructure personnel, are recommended to obtain testing at regular intervals even when they do not have symptoms. We recommend you examine the table below to see if you work in a job which is recommended to undergo routine testing.

If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, loss of smell or taste. Other symptoms such as abdominal pain or lack of appetite have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may prompt further screening, action or investigation by a medical provider.

Visit https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/ to find a testing location near you, or order a home test kit.

The two general types of COVID-19 tests include an “active infection” test (a PCR test) to look for presence of the virus that causes COVID-19, or an “immune response” test (an antibody test) to look for evidence of previous infection.

Different types of PCR tests include a deep nasal swab, a shallow nasal swab that swabs only at the front of the nostrils, a throat swab, or a swab that captures saliva (used at community-based tests). There are also PCR tests such as the LabCorp pixel test that can be performed by yourself at home. For many people, including those without health insurance, the test may come with no upfront cost. The test is a painless swab of the front of the nose that is mailed to LabCorp, and results are received electronically. More information is available here: https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/at-home-test-kits/covid-19-test.

Antibody tests can be performed with a finger stick or via a tube of blood drawn by a qualified healthcare provider. Antibody tests for COVID-19 are available through healthcare providers and laboratories. Check with your healthcare provider to see if they offer antibody tests and whether you should get one.

The length of time varies. Test results coming from a community-based testing event, using the Curative oral/saliva swabs will come back within 72 hours for those who provided an e-mail upon registration. Those who did not provide an email can expect a phone call from a DPH representative approximately five days after taking the test. Most tests sent to the DPH State Lab are processed within 24 to 48 hours, however, the length of time can vary depending upon the number of tests being run that day. If a sample is sent to, and processed by, a commercial lab, your results may take longer as they are sent out of state for testing.

If you have health insurance, you may be asked to provide that information.

Those with symptoms should get tested immediately and consult with your health care provider to see if, or how frequently, they recommend re-testing. Close contacts of positive cases should get tested once, after the end of their 14-day quarantine period. There are no recommendations on re-testing.

Testing is available for people without symptoms who may just want to know their status. Those who have more frequent interactions with friends or strangers, especially if you or they are not using face coverings or social distancing, may wish to get tested once a month. Additionally, it’s a good idea to know your status if you plan to have close contact with someone who is older or has a chronic health condition. Frequent, recurring testing is not recommended for the general public at this time. However, the Division of Public Health (DPH) may advise you of the need for testing if ongoing monitoring suggests that COVID-19 disease rates are increasing in your area. DPH also recommends testing on a routine basis (at least once a month) be considered for employees in certain occupations, which are listed in the table below.

The chart below has some recommendations on how frequently you should get tested.
 

Population Frequency Notes
Community
Symptomatic Persons When symptoms occur Re-testing based on medical guidance of provider
Close Contacts of COVID-19 cases (Asymptomatic) Once At conclusion of quarantine (Day 15)
General Asymptomatic Population When community data indicates an increase in cases Targeted community testing events based on epidemiology data

Maybe. Staff in some occupations work with people at higher risk for contracting the disease, like in health care, or long-term care facilities. Or, they have more frequent contact with members of the general public who may not be social distancing or wearing face coverings, like in the retail or hospitality (food/hotel) industries.

Most health care workers and first responders are recommended to be tested once every 4 weeks, and most other critical infrastructure personnel are recommended to be tested at least once a month, however your employer may decide you should be tested more frequently. Discuss with your employer if they have made any arrangements for scheduled testing.

Testing on a routine basis (at least once a month) should be considered for employees in these occupations. Increased testing may be needed if an outbreak occurs:

  • Retail operations
  • Food Service
  • Cosmetology, tattoo and massage
  • Education, including Early Childhood
  • Dentistry
  • Postmortem care
  • Social services and home visitors
  • Meat and poultry processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Laboratory
  • Airline and other transport operations
  • Volunteers providing frontline services
  • Border protection and transportation security
  • Correctional facility operations
  • Solid waste and wastewater management
  • Environmental (i.e., janitorial) services
Population Frequency Notes
Correctional Facilities
Incarcerated Persons Twice At booking and at conclusion of quarantine (Day 15) prior to release into general population
Post-Acute Care Facilities (non-outbreak conditions)
Asymptomatic Residents Once every 4 weeks Testing on a rotating basis (e.g., 25% of residents each week)
Asymptomatic Staff Once every week Testing on a rotating basis (e.g., 20% of staff daily)
Congregate Settings
Shelters Twice At facility admission, as well as testing on a rotating basis (e.g., 25% of all persons each week)
Custodial Care Sites (such as Group Homes) Twice At facility admission, as well as testing on a rotating basis (25% of all persons each week)
Workforce and Community
Asymptomatic Health care Workers and First Responders Once every 4 weeks Testing on a rotating basis e.g., 25% of staff each week)
Asymptomatic Critical Infrastructure Personnel (non-healthcare/first responder) Once a month minimum Testing can be more frequent, but no more frequent than once every 14 days.

A variety of testing options exist. Employers should encourage workers to get tested through their occupational health services or through primary care providers. Hospital and community testing sites throughout the state are also available.

Employers may choose to provide their own testing events in partnership with commercial laboratories or health system partners. Some employers may be interested in partnering with LabCorp for COVID-19 at-home tests. These kits can be shipped to anyone who meets screening criteria. LabCorp can file a claim with any individual’s insurance or utilize federal funds to cover the cost of the test.

For the full guidance on testing for employers, click here.

The Curative saliva test offers similar performance to nasal sampling and has undergone independent validation by DPH to ensure consistency with nasal testing.

 

 

Vaccine

A vaccine is a substance that teaches your body to recognize that a foreign invader such as a virus or bacteria has entered the body. Once the body recognizes the invader, the body’s immune system is activated, and fighter cells and proteins fight the virus or the bacteria. A vaccine is much like a decoy, it tricks the body into thinking it is the virus, but it does not actually cause the disease. It helps your body fend off the virus.

Currently, the vaccine is available to the following groups:

  • Seniors 65 and older should contact pharmacies for the vaccine or sign up at delaware.gov to request to be put on the state’s wait list for a vaccination appointment.
  • Frontline and essential workers will receive information about getting a vaccine from their employers. They should check with their employers first about whether they plan to partner with a pharmacy or hospital to provide vaccinations onsite. They may also receive invitations to state-run events through their employer.
  • Individuals 50 and older can sign up through pharmacies and can also sign up at delaware.gov to request to be put on the state’s wait list for a vaccine appointment.
  • Individuals 16-64 with high-risk underlying health conditions that could lead to severe COVID-19 complications should contact their primary care provider or hospital for a vaccination appointment. Their non-paid family caregivers are also eligible for vaccination. If your provider is not vaccinating patients, they will refer you to a hospital system.  Look here for a list of qualifying conditions: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/where-can-i-get-my-vaccine/medical-providers/.

The Delaware vaccine effort is led by the Division of Public Health in partnership with the state’s COVID Vaccine Task Force. The State’s Ethics Committee also provided recommendations on priority groups that should receive the vaccines first. DPH staff met internally to develop a response to the CDC’s request for information. The response, called The Playbook, can be found at https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/.

The vaccine will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge an office visit fee and will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the vaccine. Vaccine providers can be reimbursed for this fee.

The vaccine is available from Primary Care Providers, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and from events coordinated by Public Health or its partners Curative, or Vault Health, and community-based organizations that are either partnering with the state or hospital systems. The best source of information about availability is https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/where-can-i-get-my-vaccine/.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, both FDA-approved for Emergency Use, require two shots. Individuals need to receive the same brand of vaccine for their second dose to be effective. The second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be given three weeks after the initial dose. Moderna requires its second shot to be given one month after the original dose. The second dose should be received as close as possible to the 21 day/28 day time, but does not have to be on the precise day and can be administered later without repeating the series. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. People are encouraged to take whatever vaccine is being offered to them rather than wait for a specific brand.

All three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson&Johnson are 100% effective at preventing COVID-19 related death and hospitalization. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are 95% effective against all forms of COVID infections, and the J&J/Janssen vaccine is 74% effective. In comparison, the annual flu vaccine is typically between 40% and 60% effective in preventing influenza. It is unknown how long the COVID vaccine’s effectiveness will last, so an annual vaccine (much like the flu) may be required.

Yes. According to the CDC, experts are still learning how a vaccine will provide protection under real-life conditions. For that reason, everyone will need to continue following CDC guidelines such as wearing a mask over your mouth and nose, frequent hand washing and staying fix feet away from others. According to the CDC’s updated guidelines, there are some exceptions. People who are fully vaccinated can gather inside with others who have also been fully vaccinated without a mask. Fully vaccinated individuals can also gather indoors with unvaccinated individuals from one other house without masks only if those individuals are not at a risk for severe COVID-19 illness. It’s important to note that these guidelines only apply to household gatherings indoors.  Masks are still required in public places, outside, and in the workplace.

There is a five-step process for vaccine approval in the U.S.: 1) Clinical trials 2) FDA Review and approval or Emergency Use Authorization 3) Manufacturing 4) Distribution and 5) Post vaccine safety monitoring.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research is responsible for regulating vaccines in the United States. A company that wants to bring a new vaccine to market first needs to file an application with the FDA, describing its vaccine, its method for manufacturing and its quality control tests. Vaccine approvals follow the same process that other drugs follow.

Yes. Recognizing the importance of testing within minority populations, vaccine developers worked with community engagement partners to enroll a diverse pool of volunteers in the clinical trials. Thirty-seven percent of volunteers from one manufacturer’s clinical trials alone were from racial and ethnic minority groups. Johnson & Johnson’s study also included volunteers from diverse racial and ethnic minority groups.

Here are the racial and ethnic breakdowns of participants in each vaccines’ clinical studies:

Pfizer BioNTech:

  • Diverse subjects in study: 42%
  • Asian: 5%
  • Black: 10%
  • Hispanic: 26%
  • Native American: 1%

DPH, with recommendations from the Delaware Public Health Medical Ethics Advisory Group (Ethics Group) review the CDC list of prioritized population groups and determine allocation and distribution of vaccine(s). The Ethics Group recommendations are made based on which groups are most at risk due to how the virus is transmitted (close contact, indoor facilities), the severity rate of the virus in the community, and based on the prioritized population groups.  Additionally, both Delaware’s COVID Vaccine Task Force and the Communications subcommittee, include representation from organizations representing communities of color and incorporate their feedback into planning.

In February, DPH issued an order, formalizing requirements for second doses of the vaccine. In that order, the Division included that heath care providers are prohibited from denying administration of the COVID-19 vaccine for reasons of race, color, gender, ethnicity, disability, national origin or any other protected status. DPH also emphasized the importance of providers recording race and ethnicity when reporting vaccinations in order to evaluate efforts to vaccinate underserved populations. The state has established multiple pathways to ensure that underserved communities also have access to the vaccine.  These pathways include allocating vaccine to pharmacies and medical providers located in traditionally underserved areas, Federally Qualified Health Centers whose primary mission is to serve vulnerable populations, and partnering with community-based organizations within vulnerable communities.

The side effects have been minimal for both vaccines and generally go away within 24 hours. To report side effects, call 1-800-822-7967 or vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent

  • Pfizer-BioNTech Side Effects: Injection site pain, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, feeling unwell and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Moderna COVID-19 Side Effects: pain and tenderness at the injection site, swelling of the lymph nodes in the arm of the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea, vomiting and fever.
  • Johnson & Johnson Side Effects: pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, nausea and tiredness within a day or two of receiving the vaccine.
  • Rare Severe Allergic Reactions: In some rare cases, severe allergic reactions have occurred within minutes to an hour of receiving both the Pfizer BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include trouble breathing, swelling of face and throat, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and a rash that covers the whole body. If you experience any of these symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately or go to the nearest hospital.

The vaccine was developed in a much shorter period of time, due to the obvious need to address the public health threat the pandemic posed to the nation. A shorter development and review time does not mean the vaccine is unsafe.

The shorter development time is the result of technology advances to map the virus’s DNA and using vaccine platforms developed for other diseases that were in place to both develop and test the vaccine. The Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is part of a broader family of coronaviruses. It is related to the severe respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Researches have been engaged in searching for vaccines for those closely related viruses for several years, so they are not starting from scratch, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The clinical trial process was accelerated by enrolling more people in trials to enhance rapid data collection and earlier analysis of safety data for demographically diverse populations.  This also sped up the FDA review process as they have been monitoring the data all along.  Delivery/distribution time was shortened by allowing manufacturing to occur at the same time as instead of after, vaccine approval.

Experts and scientists from the Food and Drug Administration and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices review the vaccine development data. Extensive post-monitoring efforts will be implemented to safeguard those immunized.

Additional actions that U.S. government has taken to expedite the development and manufacturing of the vaccine include:

  • Larger studies: The federal government is allowing manufacturers to conduct larger studies that allow it to reach objectives sooner than it would conducting smaller studies.
  • Financial Investment: The U.S. government has made a financial commitment, making it possible for companies to manufacture large amounts of a vaccine without taking on all of the financial risks.
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration: The FDA has expedited clinical trials and is providing timely advice and interactions with vaccine developers.

 

Those actions have been taken under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed which is the coordinated federal effort to produce a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19.

No. Information about the studies and the candidates can be found on the following website https://coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/understanding-clinical-studies/ or by visiting the manufactures websites.

  • Johnson and Johnson: Genetically engineered. Does not contain the virus.
  • Moderna: Genetically engineered. Does not contain the virus.
  • AstraZeneca: It contains a weakened version of the virus.
  • Pfizer: It contains a small part of the genetic code but does not contain the live virus.

 

It is too soon to tell. In general, vaccines prevent or reduce the seriousness of various diseases.  Vaccines have been used successfully for decades to control and contain diseases such as polio, chicken pox, measles, mumps and the seasonal flu, but did not eliminate them altogether. However, a vaccine, did eliminate smallpox.

It is still unknown at this time, how long that would take, but the more people who choose to get the vaccine, the greater chance of reaching herd immunity there will be.

The Division of Public Health encourages but does not plan to require that everyone get the vaccine.

No, they cannot give someone COVID-19. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

mRNA vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine.

No. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.

An appointment request system has been created with the following: (1) An individual will request an appointment at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov which will put them on a waiting list and (2) when appointments become available, invitation emails will be sent to individuals to schedule an appointment online for an upcoming event. Seniors with computer access are advised to request an appointment through this online system, which will be available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.  It is highly recommended the online system be used, but those without computer access may call the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 and a call center operator can assist you in making the initial request.  Multiple requests will not increase the chance of receiving an invitation for an appointment.

You should not get the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (such as polyethylene glycol), you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.*
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get a second dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.*
  • An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital. Learn about common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and when to call a doctor.
  • An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

You should not get the COVID-19 vaccine if you:

• had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of the vaccine
• had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine.

The following age groups are authorized to receive vaccination:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: ages ≥16 years
  • Moderna: ages ≥18 years
  • Janssen: ages ≥18 years

Children and adolescents outside these authorized age groups should not receive COVID-19 vaccination at this time.

It is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen, before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects. It is not known how these medications may affect how well the vaccine works. However, if you take these medications regularly for other reasons, you should keep taking them before you get vaccinated. It is also not recommended to take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions.

The Division of Public Health recommends that you take any of the vaccines that are available once you are eligible and receive an invitation for an appointment. However, we understand that you may want to compare vaccines. You can see a comparison chart here.

Vaccine provided at each vaccination site is dependent upon supply received. Choice of vaccine is not available. When you receive the vaccine, you will receive a card that states which vaccine was provided, including company name, lot number, date received and location.

 

Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. You should wait at least 10 days after your isolation period ends to get the vaccine.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Persons 16+ with an intellectual or developmental disability, or a physical one caused by a medical condition (such as ALS or cerebral palsy) should contact their physician or a hospital system (if you receive services there).  If your physician is not vaccinating, they will refer your name to a hospital system who will reach out to either schedule you or advise you how to get on their waitlist. Going through a medical provider or hospital system is the best way for those with underlying health conditions to be vaccinated as they are very familiar with your conditions.  Those with other physical disabilities who are 50+ can either check with a pharmacy to identify their accommodations, or if signed up for the state’s waitlist, can contact the Vaccine Call center to inquire about accommodations that are available when you receive an invitation to schedule an appointment.  The vaccine call center can be reached at 1-833-643-1715 or vaccine@delaware.gov.

DPH coordinated vaccination sites (drive thru or indoor sites) that are open to the public meet ADA requirements. Accommodations will be available at the site to assist with the vaccination process, including large print materials. Contact the vaccine call center at 1-833-643-1715 or email Vaccine@delaware.gov  to request accommodations at a state-coordinated large scale vaccination site.

Contact the DPH Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715 or email Vaccine@delaware.gov  with questions regarding accommodations. Staff may need to get back to you with more information, or may need to connect you to the DHSS Aging and Disabilities Resource Center.

The Division of Public Health is currently investigating options for assisting members of the general public with their transportation needs. Eligible Delaware Medicaid clients in need of non-emergency transportation should contact Modivcare at 1-866-412-3778. Homebound individuals or DHSS clients should contact the Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715, and they will take your information to provide to the Aging and Disabilities Resource Center.

If you are pregnant, you may choose to be vaccinated when it’s available to you. There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problem with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta.

People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. There is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. There is no routine recommendation for taking a pregnancy test before you get a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talking with a health care provider may might help you make an informed decision. Learn more at vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

All three vaccines have slight differences, but all have been proven 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The Division of Public Health recommends that you take whichever vaccine becomes available to you rather than waiting for a specific brand, however, we understand that you may want to compare the vaccines yourself. You can see a vaccine comparison chart here.

The CDC is advising people who are due for a mammogram to speak with their medical provider on how long they should wait until after they receive their vaccine to get their mammogram. The vaccine can cause lymph nodes under the arms to swell, which can cause a false reading on a mammogram. According to the CDC, some experts recommend getting a mammogram first before receiving the vaccine or waiting four to six weeks after being vaccinated to get a mammogram. For more details on this and how the vaccine affects other medical procedures visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/other-procedures.html#.

  • People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. You should wait at least 10 days after your isolation period ends to get the vaccine.

 

 

General

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.

  • 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
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Aches or muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • As of June 1, 2020 Delawareans are no longer under stay-at-home orders. We all still need to continue to take precautions like staying at least 6 feet apart from others, wear a face covering, and:
    • 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.

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.

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful. It has impacted every facet of our lives, and many of us are struggling with feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression or worse. Others are struggling with their recoveries from substance use disorder or possibly have relapsed. If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health or substance use issue – large or small – please call the 24/7 Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333) to talk with a trained professional counselor. If you are working, call your Employee Assistance Program, or talk with your doctor, faith leader or another person you trust. Or visit HelpIsHereDE.com to find support groups or treatment services.

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.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/index.html

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.

For the latest information about new and emerging variants of COVID-19 in the US, please visit the CDC’s website.

On January 29, 2021. The Division of Public Health (DPH) announced the first three confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7, in Delaware. This variant is the same one that was first discovered in England in December and is also commonly referred to as the UK Variant. Delaware now joins a list of 26 other states reporting cases of the UK variant.

 

 

Unemployment Benefits

Workers should file for benefits on the Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance website at https://ui.delawareworks.com/.

The phone lines are extremely busy and the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) is working to add employees. Email your questions to uiclaims@delaware.gov and please include your name and claim/confirmation number, if you have one.

DOL has a Frequently Asked Questions flyer available via text – text uifacts to 555888, and available on their websites at dol.delaware.gov or ui.delawareworks.com. People can also call 302-761-8446 however, there is a longer than usual wait time to speak with a claims processor.

For more information about the details around eligibility please see the CARES Act FAQ’s sheet provided by Senator Tom Carper’s office.

Sign up for weekly email Unemployment Updates for Delawareans.
The email will also contain:

  • Updates on UI claims processing procedures
  • Links to employment resources
  • Immediate employment opportunities for those affected by job loss due to the global pandemic

Visit DOL on Facebook, where they are posting frequent videos and information about unemployment.

 

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.

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.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act) includes three key programs for workers affected by the Coronavirus.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

Will provide an additional $600 to claimant’s weekly benefits. This added benefit is actively being disbursed for regular unemployment insurance benefit claims.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Provides workers with up to 13 weeks for claims opened after July 1, 2019. Press Release: Delaware Department of Labor Releases Guidelines on 13 Week Extension of Unemployment Benefits

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Provides unemployment assistance to independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and religious/faith-based organizations affected by the coronavirus. Individuals requesting PUA will be able to apply for benefits beginning the week of May 11th, 2020.

The Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance has a new system to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). First, you must apply to the regular Unemployment Insurance program and then be determined monetarily ineligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.

What you’ll need to apply for PUA:

Gather the Proper Documents:

Your Earnings Records for 2019, which include (if applicable):

  • Tax returns
    • Last year’s income tax statement or quarterly earnings statement
  • 1099 forms
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • W2

Gather Information:

  • Social security number or ITIN
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, your A Number (USCIS Number)
  • Your residential address
  • Your mailing address (if different from residential address)
  • Your telephone number
  • Your email address
  • Your date of birth
  • If you want to use direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers. All others will receive payment via debit card.

The maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) in Delaware is $400 per week. An individual’s benefit amount is determined by wages reported by your employer in the base period. You can make up to 50% of your weekly benefit and still qualify for your full benefit amount. Please refer to the claimant handbook for the Unemployment Insurance benefit amount calculation.

The Delaware Department of Labor makes every effort to pay eligible claims within 10-14 days due to the current circumstance. This is pending all information received is accurate and timely. If you have specific questions about your claim, please visit ui.delawareworks.com or send an email to: uiclaims@delaware.gov for more information. To check on the status of your benefits, call the hotline. The hotline will let claimants know if a payment was made. The Information Hotline, at (800) 794-3032 or (302) 761-6576 is available 7 days a week, 24 hours per day.

 

 

Face Masks

A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. Research has shown that certain more densely-woven fabrics may be more effective. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

The primary role of cloth face coverings are to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but may not show symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for washing hands, physical distancing while in public settings, and staying home, but they may be helpful when combined with these actions.

You are required to wear a face covering in public settings, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation. Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others. If you are sick, you should wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people — even while at home.

Washing your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily is strongly recommended. Use a bag or bin to store cloth face coverings until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on or adjusting the mask, and avoid touching your face. Discard cloth face coverings that:

  • Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • No longer cover the mouth and nose
  • Don’t stay on the face
  • Have any rips or holes in the fabric

 

 

Stay at Home Order

The Stay at Home Order started Tuesday morning on March 24, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and ended on May 31, 2020. Everyone is encouraged to continue to social distance (staying at least 6 feet apart from other people), wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, and avoid touching your face.

 

Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) on December 3, 2020 announced a new Stay-at-Home advisory, strongly advising all Delawareans to avoid gathering indoors with anyone outside your household from December 14, 2020 through January 11, 2021 to interrupt the dangerous winter surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Delaware. The advisory does not apply to Delawareans in workplaces, and traveling to and from their places of work. Read more about the advisory.

 

 

Out-of-State Self-Quarantine Order

No, the out-of-state self quarantine ended on June 1, 2020. Those traveling to Delaware from out of state no longer need to self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

 

 

Animals

Currently there is no evidence to suggest any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 infection to people.

Although there have been a few reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, this is a new virus and it is not fully understood. For this reason, it is recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. There is some indication that pets can contract the virus from people in the household who have been sick with COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, persons ill with COVID-19 should have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets, whenever possible. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, wear a cloth face mask; don’t pet, share food, kiss, or hug them, or allow your pet to lick you; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet, service animal, and their supplies. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

Since there have been a few confirmed reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals. Contact your veterinarian if your pet displays any signs of illness.

Although there have been only a few reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with their animals. If your pet shows any signs of illness, including respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

It is recommended that pets and other animals from different households be prevented from commingling at this time, out of an abundance of caution. If your pet is showing signs of illness, you should isolate it from all other pets in your household. When walking your dog, practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between you and other people. If you cannot maintain social distancing, follow Delaware’s guidance on wearing a face covering. Even though people might not feel sick or show symptoms, they can spread the virus.

A family member, friend, or neighbor should be asked to care for your animals while you are hospitalized and until your isolation period has come to an end. Alternatively, you can contact your veterinarian or an animal boarding facility to coordinate boarding your pet while you are in the hospital.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Similar but different coronavirus species cause several common diseases in domestic animals which are not contagious to people. Many dogs, for example, are vaccinated for another species of coronavirus (Canine Coronavirus) as puppies. However, this vaccine does not cross protect for COVID-19. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 for animals or humans at this time.

Contact your veterinarian to see how they wish to proceed. They may be able to help you by telephone or video conference, or they may require that a healthy person bring the pet in for evaluation. In order to best protect their staff, they will likely have special instructions for you and your pet upon arrival, such as keeping the pet in the car until time of examination; asking you to fill out paperwork from your car; and processing payment for services by telephone.

A very small number of pets, including dogs and cats,  have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19. A small number of pet cats and dogs have been reported to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in several countries, including the United States. One ferret was reported positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Slovenia. Most of these pets became sick after contact with people with COVID-19.

To date, there is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to people.

The first case of an animal testing positive for COVID-19 in the United States was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness. Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus.

Experimental studies conducted in a laboratory setting indicate that cats and ferrets might be able to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and transmit the virus to other animals. In a natural setting, it appears that it is rare that domestic animals are readily infected with SARS-CoV-2; however a few cases have been reported in the United States.

At this time, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets. Normal cleanliness and hygiene should be maintained for your pet. As a general precaution it is recommended that you wash your hands with soap and water after touching animals.

Always practice social (physical) distancing from the ill person, as well as from other persons when you’re on a walk with a dog. Practice handwashing when entering the person’s home. Avoid touching surfaces in the person’s home as much as possible. Do not share food, kiss, or hug the pet, or allow the pet to lick you; and wash your hands before and after any contact with the pet and their supplies. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils with the ill person or pet. After you attend to the pet and go home, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and wash your clothes.

Call your veterinary clinic with any questions about your animal’s health. In order to ensure the veterinary clinic is prepared to evaluate the animal, the owner should call ahead and arrange the hospital or clinic visit. Make sure to tell your veterinarian if your animal was exposed to a person sick with COVID-19, and if your animal is showing any signs of illness.

At this time, the State of Delaware, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not recommend routine testing of animals for the virus that causes COVID-19 in people. Veterinarians who believe an animal should be tested will contact state animal health officials, who will work with public health and animal health authorities to decide whether samples should be collected and tested.

Essential veterinary care, pet food retail, and animal shelter operations are all deemed essential services in Delaware and therefore remain open to the public. It is recommended to call a facility prior to arrival for special instructions or changes to hours of operation.

Yes. There is no evidence that any companion animals, including shelter animals, are a potential source of COVID-19 infection for people. Many animal shelters and rescues continue to look for foster care and adoption applicants.

Take time now to make plans and prepare your pets in case you can no longer take care of your pets or have to go to the hospital due to COVID-19.

  • Designate a trusted pet caregiver (family, friend, neighbor, colleague), who has a set of keys to your home, is familiar with your home and pet, knows your emergency plan, and has your contact information.
  • Prepare pet care instruction documents for each of your pets with information on feeding, watering, health conditions, medications, etc.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped, the microchip is registered, and information is up to date. Your pet should always be wearing a collar or harness with identification.
  • Make sure your pet’s veterinary care and vaccines are up to date. Organize your veterinary records so they are readily accessible.
  • In addition to making sure you have a supply of your own medication, be certain you have at least 2-4 weeks of your pet’s medication.
  • Ensure you have an adequate supply of pet food, litter, and other consumable supplies.
  • Have leashes and crates/carriers available in case your pets need to be transported.

If you are seeking help for your pet, there are organizations in Delaware that may be able to help with low-cost veterinary care and vaccinations, spay and neuter, pet food bank, and sheltering. The Office of Animal Welfare has a listing of community resources online for pet owners.


Get More COVID Data

For more data on Delaware COVID cases, testing and outcomes, including demographic breakdowns, go to My Healthy Community