Thousands Tested in Rehoboth-Dewey for Covid; More Lifeguards Testing Positive


About 1,200 people were tested last Tuesday in the Rehoboth Beach city hall parking lot according to Jennifer Brestel from the Division of Public Health. Those results were not available as of Friday. But she did say that of the 4,166 tests completed in Dewey and Rehoboth the previous week, 264 came back positive (6.34 percent).

“The goal was to increase access to testing in the beach area and provide a gauge of the infection rates in that area,” Brestel said.

As of this past Friday, Police Chief Keith Banks says 15 Rehoboth Beach Patrol lifeguards have tested positive for Covid. Four of the guards who have been out were scheduled to return this past Saturday or today. After quarantining the required time period, Chief Banks says, each employee must have two negative test results prior to returning to work. The city hired 55 guards this year.

He said as of Friday, no Rehoboth Beach police officers have tested positive for Covid.

Reached by phone on Friday, Bethany Beach Patrol Capt. Joe Donnelly confirmed about 18 of his lifeguards tested positive for Covid. But he noted that the Covid cases were diagnosed earlier in Bethany than at other beach patrols, so he anticipates most of his staff returning to work as soon as today.

Ocean City Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin says his patrol has had three Covid cases, all from off-duty exposure. “Each staff member is required to complete a daily wellness check prior to beginning work and I do an audit each day to make sure we have 100 percent compliance,” he said.

One advantage in Ocean City, Capt. Arbin points out, is that his guards only sit one per stand, and when they switch, the policy has been that they do not linger, they switch and keep moving. Also interesting is that he said OCBP has more staff this year than the patrol has had for many years, with more than 200 members.