State health officials prepare for coronavirus to hit Delaware

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State health officials are continuing to monitor the coronavirus and prepare for the possibility that it could hit Delaware.

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is continuing to monitor 14 asymptomatic travelers (travelers who are not sick with fever/cough/shortness of breath) arriving in the U.S. from mainland China and other countries where the virus is active.

In an interview with WGMD’s Rob Petree, Dr. Rattay explains…

“It’s changing rapidly and certinaly we are seeing community spread in the United States. We expect that we will likely see infections here in Delaware,” DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay explained. “Although we haven’t seen any yet, we are certainly watching very closely.”

Over the weekend, DPH announced that two Kent County residents who were undergoing testing for the virus were considered presumptive negative, pending confirmatory testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Three Delawareans previously had been tested for COVID-19, and all three results were negative.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker hosted a press conference…

Posted by Delaware Division of Public Health – DPH on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

WGMD’s Rob Petree reached out Governor John Carney, who is continuing to monitor the situation and emphasized how the risk of contracting the virus still remains low in the state.

“Our experts at the Delaware Division of Public have been working closely with the CDC and their other state and federal partners to make sure Delaware is prepared for the coronavirus,” Governor Carney said. “It’s important to recognize that the immediate health risk to Delawareans remains low. There are things every Delawarean can do to prevent spread of the illness and stay healthy. Wash your hands regularly. Cover your cough. Stay home from work if you’re sick.”

DPH recommends everyday measures that people can take to prevent the spread of all infections, which would also slow the spread of coronavirus disease:

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it right away.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, including the backs of your hands and under your nails.
  • Clean surfaces at home, work or school that you use often.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • If you are healthy, the CDC does not recommend buying or using face masks. If you are infected, however, a mask can help prevent the spread of a virus.

Both CDC and DPH continue to state that the risk of COVID-19 spreading to the general public remains low. While the number of cases are increasing in the U.S., there is no community spread of the virus in Delaware.

Delawareans should visit de.gov/coronavirus for guidance and the latest information in Delaware, or call the newly launched state hotline for coronavirus at 1-866-408-1899.