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Delaware prepares for resurgence of COVID-19

Among the recommendations: Expand Delaware’s approach to collecting and reporting COVID-19 data to increase transparency.
The state Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee presented its final report Wednesday.
The state Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee presented its final report Wednesday.

Delaware promises to be fast, transparent and data- and science driven if a potentially dangerous resurgence of COVID-19 occurs, according to a state government report released Wednesday.

“This crisis is with us and here to stay for a while, so we all need to continue to work together and stay diligent,” according to the report, from the Pandemic Resurgence Advisory Committee, created June 1 by Gov. John Carney’s Executive Order 39

The report often calls for supporting, leveraging, maximizing, mitigating and communicating. It also repeatedly expresses concern for “Delaware’s Black and Latino populations as well as [those] in high- risk and congregant settings (e.g., poultry plants and long-term care facilities).”

Workers in Delaware’s six poultry plants were hit hard this spring, but “the state did not see a single positive case among poultry workers through most of July and August,” the report says. 

Long-term care facilities were also hit hard early, and they’re still a concern. The state Department of Health on Friday said it was investigating outbreaks at Kentmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington, Cadia Healthcare Silverside in Brandywine Hundred and Country Rest Home in Greenwood. The state’s guidancee for such facilities was updated last week.

The report has 48 major recommendations, with dozens of subsidiary recommendations. They include: 

  • Expand Delaware’s approach to collecting and reporting COVID-19-related data to increase transparency into the status of the disease and the rationale for the state’s decisions. 
  • Increase the number of tests conducted, support existing contact tracing efforts and remove barriers to testing. The state launched a contact tracing app, COVID Alert DE, on Sept. 15. 
  • Push healthcare providers and long-term care facilities to have a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment.
  • Temporarily reduce regulations and accelerate state payments “to contractors to help drive growth to increase near-term business liquidity and drive longer-term growth.
  • Provide grants to public K-12 schools for eligible expenses, including PPE.

The report describes some efforts by dollar value, including the $100 million DE Relief Grants program, which began grant distributions in September.

The state in September launched the Nonprofit Support Fund, which will provide $25 million to community organizations that provide social and jobs services.

The state has allocated $40 million for renters and homeowners at risk of losing housing and $20 million to increase broadband access so critical to online learning.

The committee had three subcommittees (health, equity and business) and 46 members (eight members of the public and the rest political, business and healthcare leaders). 

It was co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, who has a doctorate in health policy and nursing administration, and  Secretary of State Jeff Bullock.

Since March 11, the state Department of Health has logged 20,085 positive cases and considers 10,517 of them recovered.

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