DPH Advises Older Delawareans to Avoid Crowds to Reduce Risk from Coronavirus

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Delaware Public health officials advise older Delawareans and people with severe chronic health conditions to follow guidelines issued by the CDC and to avoid crowds as much as possible to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus.  Early data shows older people are twice as likely to suffer a serious illness from coronavirus or COVID-19.  Currently there are NO confirmed cases in Delaware, but public health and other state partners are planning for the likelihood of community transmission. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommended on Sunday that those at greatest risk – older Americans and those with severe chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes – should abstain from travel.

As of Sunday afternoon there are three people with tests pending – 2 in New Castle County and 1 in Kent – and 15 who have had negative results.  There are 18 people currently being monitored.

If you are in the higher-risk groups for getting very sick from COVID-19, the CDC recommends you should:

  • Avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips and defer all cruise trips worldwide.
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated space, as much as possible.
  • 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 precaution to keep space between yourself and others.
  • If an outbreak does occur, stay home as much as possible.
  • Stock up on supplies, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, food and water, and other household items.
  • Have a plan in the event you get sick, including discussing with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what you might need.

For family members and caregivers providing support, the CDC recommends these steps:

  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

Older Delawareans, people with severe chronic health conditions and all other members of the public can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or TTY at 1-800-232-5460 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus