Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday that he intends to lift the COVID-19 State of Emergency Order on July 13.
He first signed the order on March 12, 2020, and today he also signed a modification that makes technical changes to the 29th emergency order.
Ending the State of Emergency also will end mask and other COVID-19 related mandates such as social distancing as well as the use of the Delaware National Guard in vaccination efforts.
“It’s important right now that I stop and thank Gen. (Michael R. ) Berry and all the men and women of the guard for the incredible work that they’ve done for us,” Carney said during his weekly COVID-19 press briefing. “I don’t think they’ve ever had a mission like this in the history of the guard going all the way back to its inception.”
He also thanked the Wilmington COVID-19 Community Mobilization Group, Kent County Coalition and Sussex County Coalition.
Educators and staff in schools and child care centers are not required to wear masks when children are not present, according to Tuesday’s modification. Students and staff also are not required to wear masks outdoors.
One goal the state has now outside of its Fourth of July deadline to vaccinate 70% of its population is to vaccinate as many adolescents before the beginning of the school year in September.
Also Tuesday, Dr. Karyl Rattay talked about heart problems that have appeared in some teens and young adults after receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Both conditions are an inflammation of the heart which can be caused by the flu as well as coronavirus.
She said 196 cases have been found among the 9.8 million vaccinated 18-24-year-olds and 79 cases have been found in the 2.3 million vaccinated 18- to 24-year-olds. Rattay said that these conditions seem to be more common this time of year and that those afflicted respond well to medical treatment. No cases of either condition has been found in Delaware.
Carney said the date of July 13 had no specific importance when planning when to end the State of Emergency, but that they wanted to ensure it ended after the July 4th holiday. Because the State of Emergency extensions work in 30 day stretches, the 13th just likely happened to be when the extension would have ended.
“We now have the tools to prevent COVID-19 infection, serious illness and hospitalization,” he said. “Get vaccinated. Ask your friends and family if they’ve received their shot. These vaccines are extremely safe and effective. Even if you’re young, healthy and not worried about the effects of COVID-19, consider doing your part. Getting vaccinated will prevent new infections among our immunocompromised neighbors, and help us keep moving past this pandemic.”
As of Monday, 68.3 percent of Delaware adults had received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Carney said that through surveys given as far back as December up until now, a solid 20% of Delawareans said that they refuse to be vaccinated.
Those who are unvaccinated are still strongly encouraged to wear a mask in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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