Labor Day weekend saw huge crowds in Delaware – on the beaches and boardwalks – thanks to the beautiful weather. Governor Carney during this week’s coronavirus update says those large crowds present a challenge as to where the state’s virus numbers will turn out. However we won’t know until testing is done over the next couple of weeks. Delaware has seen an uptick in recent weeks – mainly in the college towns in New Castle and Kent Counties. Increased testing will be done – as well as contact tracing – which Dr. Karyl Rattay says is only being done by the Division of Public Health and is only to get information.
Expect increased testing for schools – both students and staff as schools return to session. Governor Carney says that while the new school year will look different this year, his goal is to get as many students in front of teachers face to face as possible – if not all. As testing increases, DEMA Director AJ Schall says that we will see a shift to consistent testing sites with expanded access, an at-home testing option and the development of an antigen point of care surveillance program for schools.
While Maryland has moved into its Phase 3 recovery, Delaware remains in its Phase 2, however Governor Carney says that unlike many states, Delawareans have had fewer restrictions and more remained open when other states were more strict in closings. However, a move to Phase 3 in Delaware will require the numbers to decrease in the number of positive cases of coronavirus and we see the curve again beginning to flatten – rather than remain steady. That means – continuing to wear a face covering in public and when social distancing can’t be maintained, social distancing, following the guidance on indoor and outdoor gatherings – and getting tested. Negative tests will also help the percent positive come down.
DPH Director Dr. Rattay says that while outdoor visitation has been allowed at long-term care facilities for some time, this week indoor visitation is now available at some locations. They do have to be virus-free for at least 14 days – but a new positive test will suspend visitation. Visitors will have limited access inside a facility to a room near the entrance which will be cleaned after visits.
Applications for Small Business Grants of up to $100,000 are now being accepted for eligible expenses due to coronavirus. Governor Carney says that they have received more applications than expected but there will be two rounds of applications taken. Also next week, the Delaware Department of Labor will begin issuing $300 lost wages support payments. The funding, which comes from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, will be retroactive to August 1st when the last round of benefit payments expired. The $300 is in addition to their regular unemployment benefits.