Please note, the nature of the COVID-19 epidemic is rapidly evolving which makes this information subject to change. This page was last updated at 6:00 pm on April 7, 2020. Visit the Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the most recent information and additional resources.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, I hosted a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Telephone Town Hall with Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). Nearly 16,000 Delawareans tuned in and we had over 300 questions submitted. We have compiled the most frequently asked questions below in collaboration with DPH. Individuals with more questions about coronavirus can call DPH at 1-866-408-1899 or send an email to DPHCall@delaware.gov. Individuals with hearing impairment can call 7-1-1.
Listen to the Telephone Town Hall Below
Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions:
1.Are coronavirus tests available in Delaware and where are they located in each county?
Testing is currently being conducted in all three counties on a regular basis. Please visit https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/ to find specific information on where you can get tested. Please note that some testing sites are limited to those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. All sites listed require you to call ahead or pre-register. Please visit the testing website to make sure you follow all instructions prior to arriving for testing.
2.When can we expect the coronavirus pandemic to end?
At this point we cannot predict when the coronavirus will end. We do know that it is heavily dependent on the work that we are currently doing regarding containment and disease mitigation. That is why it is so important that people abide by governmental guidance for social distancing, hand washing, and self-isolating when they have symptoms of illness.
3.How contagious is the virus?
Guidance issued by the CDC states that people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. According to the CDC’s guidance, the virus that causes COVID-19 isspreading from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. According to the CDC, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
4.Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
According to DHSS, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should immediately call ahead to their health care provider or health care facilitybefore visiting a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital in person.
5.How will people vote during this epidemic?
To accommodate voting, Delaware has made COVID-19 an acceptable reason for requesting an absentee ballot for the Presidential Primary on July 7, 2020. To request your ballot, you can visit iVOTE.DE.gov, or you can call your county’s Elections Office at 302-739-4377, to ask them to mail you a paper application.For more information on requesting an absentee ballot, click here. Voting in person is still possible, and you can click here for a list of polling places in Delaware.
To make sure voting is accessible I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to Congressional leadership to ensure that everyone is able to vote by adding provisions in the fourth coronavirus relief package such as, including a requirement of early in-person voting, no-excuse absentee voting by mail, and additional funding with no state match requirement. And in May, I voted to pass the HEROES Act, which would provide much needed support to our elections system by issuing $3.6 billion in grants to States to carry out election contingency plans to make sure voting is safe and accessible to all Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
6.Are there limits of travel within the United States and are there plans to stop interstate travel?
Right now, there are no plans to broadly end interstate travel. On June 1st, Governor Carney ended the required 14-day quarantine period for those entering Delaware from out of state. It is still required to wear face covering when indoors or when social distancing is not possible. As other states have become hotspots, please consult the travel restrictions of the state to which you plan to travel before making any plans.
7.Is wearing a face mask an effective way to keep COVID-19 from spreading?
Yes. According to the CDC, cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may unknowingly have the virus to stop from transmitting it to others. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs, and can travel up to 6 feet, according to studies. It is important to remember that face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, hand washing, or staying home.
8.What services are the Department of Veterans Affairs providing?
The VA has implemented a public health response to protect and care for Veterans in the face of this emerging health risk. According to their website, they are working directly with the CDC and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus. These measures include outreach to Veterans and staff,clinical screening at VA health care facilities, and protective procedures for patients admitted to community living centers and spinal cord injury units. You can find more information on the work the VA is doing to prevent COVID-19 transmission by visiting their website here.
9.Is testing for the coronavirus covered by my insurance?
Yes. On March 14, 2020, I voted in favor of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, which was signed into law on March 18, and establishes requirements for providing free coronavirus testing to all individuals. Also, Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro notified insurers that testing for COVID-19 must be a covered essential health benefit and that access to telehealth and telemedicine services should be made available. If you have Medicare, according to their website, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a test to see if you have COVID-19. This test is covered when your doctor or other health care provider orders it.
10.How are we protecting health care workers?
Our health care workers are on the front lines of combating this epidemic and caring for their neighbors. We are beyond grateful for their dedication and service during this critical time. On March 13, 2020, I signed a letter to the President requesting he use the Defense Production Act to help address critical shortages in supplies, such as medical supplies, in order to make sure that our health care professionals are readily equipped to care for individuals with the virus. On Wednesday, March 18, the President said he would invoke the Defense Production Act in the coming days. On March 25, I led a letter to House Leadershiprequesting that any additional legislative response to COVID-19 include strong protections for frontline health care workers. The letter asks House Leadership to support our nation’s frontline health care workers, including first responders, and sustain the health care system’s workforce capacity by including emergency bonus pay, targeted policies to rapidly expand the workforce, and robust mental health services in any upcoming legislative package. And on Wednesday, March 25, the Senate passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package and on Friday, March 27, this legislation passed the House of Representatives with my support. This legislation includes $150 billion in critical funding for hospitals and health care facilities, $16 billion to replenish the critical medical gear in the Strategic National Stockpile, $1.5 billion to support state and local government purchases of personal protective equipment, conduct surveillance, and lab testing, among other important provisions.
If you are a health care professional in Delaware or any Delaware health care, long-term care, residential, or other high-risk facility with questions, you can email DPH at DPH_PAC@delaware.gov or call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 and press ext. 2. You can also visit DHSS’s website for strategies to optimize personal protective equipment, DPH’s community testing plan, and other resources. I will continue to work with the delegation and state partners to ensure the safety of our health care professionals.