DPH Statement on Novel Coronavirus Activities from Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, MD, MS

With recent cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reported in several countries including the U.S., health officials across the nation are increasing monitoring efforts to identify potential cases. The Division of Public Health (DPH) has posted information on its website https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph and is issuing this statement to provide details about activities related to the outbreak.

While the available information suggests a low immediate health risk for the general public, we consider any new infectious disease a serious concern and are working with health care providers such as yourselves to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases. It is important to recognize that the current investigation and response are dynamic, and new information about the disease may impact the approach to this disease.  DPH will keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Currently the risk to the general public is considered low. At this time, there are a small number of individual cases in the U.S.  Risk is based on exposure. As you know we are in the heart of flu and respiratory disease season, and with over two thousand cases statewide, most of the population is at greater risk of contracting seasonal influenza than coronavirus. Those individuals with recent travel to any area of China, or contact with someone who has recent travel and is ill, have an increased risk for becoming ill. DPH is not recommending exclusion from work/school of asymptomatic persons arriving from China.

Delaware has a strong disease surveillance system in place that includes partnerships with hospital and clinic systems as well as local health care providers such as you. We continue to ask providers to alert us if a person with recent travel to any area of China, becomes sick with respiratory symptoms. If this is the case, we ask that you contact the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156.  When cases are reported, laboratory samples are collected and submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing. This testing can take several days.

We have had a handful of calls from providers and have followed up.  If at any point testing confirms a case of novel Coronavirus in a Delaware resident, the available details and protective recommendations would be shared with both the affected parties and the public as quickly as possible.

Symptoms are most similar to lower respiratory infections with patients having fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

The public is being encouraged to call ahead to their health care provider if they are concerned about the possibility of having been infected with 2019-nCoV.  Patients arriving for evaluation should be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private room (three walls and a door) with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available. Patients being sent to another health care facility from their primary care provider, or urgent care center, should be masked to limit transmission of respiratory secretions. Health care personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield). See the CDC’s health care personnel checklist or hospital personnel checklist for more specific information. Immediately notify DPH at 1-888-295-5156.

Additionally, DPH has issued guidance to Emergency Medical Services responders regarding what to do if they are called to transport someone suspected to be infected with 2019-nCoV.  DPH is holding frequent internal calls to ensure a constant flow of communication, and we are developing materials such as flyers to help the public understand what this virus is, and what they can do to protect themselves. We ask that you post the attached flyers around your facilities to educate patients on the virus and prevention techniques.

When a new disease is circulating, it’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families. The best guidance at this point is to advise patients to take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu: People should stay home when they are sick, cover their cough and practice good hand washing. Patients who have recently returned from a trip to China and are feeling sick, should call their health care provider and let them know of their travel and symptoms.

2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China



DOVER (February 15, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing that the second of two pending test results for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has come back negative. The individual, a New Castle County resident, is no longer hospitalized and is continuing to recover from their underlying illness at home. DPH will not be providing any additional information about the individual. Three Delawareans have been tested for COVID-19 to date, and all three results have been negative. There are no other persons under investigation in Delaware at this time.

In addition, DPH continues to monitor 27 asymptomatic travelers (travelers who are not sick with fever/cough/shortness of breath) arriving in the U.S. from mainland China after Feb. 3. The CDC recommended that such travelers be monitored for 14 days after their return. During the 14 days after their return from China, these persons are being asked to remain at home while self-monitoring for symptoms. If any of these persons shows symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, they should call DPH right away to determine next steps, which may include transport to a local hospital for evaluation, isolation and testing.

DPH is emphasizing that these individuals are not sick, and exhibit no symptoms consistent with coronavirus. Individuals being monitored for symptoms are NOT considered Patients Under Investigation (PUI), which are those individuals who meet criteria for testing based on symptoms and travel history. DPH began reporting the number of returning travelers being monitored, as well as PUIs, on its website https://dhss.delaware.gov/dph on Monday, Feb. 10. Numbers will be updated every Tuesday and Friday afterward.

Individuals who traveled from China prior to Feb. 3, 2020, are asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after their return. If they become ill within 14 days of their return, they should avoid contact with others, and call ahead to their health care provider to discuss their recent travel, symptoms, and next steps. The health care provider should in turn contact DPH to coordinate next steps. Individuals who returned from China prior to Feb. 3, 2020, do not need to be excluded from school or work. DPH continues to encourage employers and administrators to review their own health policies to make decisions regarding exclusion from work/school for these individuals.

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 spread of the virus in the community. Risk is based on exposure. Only those individuals with recent travel to China or who have had contact with someone who has had recent travel and is ill, have an increased risk of becoming ill. For persons without an associated travel risk, it should be assumed that most respiratory illnesses are not COVID-19. As of Feb. 3, 2020, all persons returning from Hubei Province in China, as well as symptomatic persons returning from mainland China, will be quarantined for 14 days near a United States airport of entry, per federal orders.

DPH officials are also emphasizing that Asian American/Pacific Islander individuals are at no higher risk of carrying COVID-19 than any other individual. DPH urges people not to make assumptions that someone might be ill or could become ill based on their accent, background or skin color.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For more information on COVID-19, visit https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

DHSA and DIMER: Partnerships & Progress for Delawareans

December 16, 2019

For nearly 20 years, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has served as the official osteopathic medical school of Delaware—a state that currently does not have its own medical school—through its partnership with the Delaware Institute of Medical Education and Research (DIMER). The organization provides funding to the College to deliver medical education to Delaware residents, in the hopes that those students will return to practice after graduation.

PCOM and DIMER recently celebrated their relationship, and the 50th anniversary of DIMER, with a dinner honoring Sherman Townsend, board chair of DIMER and honorary degree recipient from PCOM; alumnus and PCOM Board Member Vincent Lobo, DO ’65, who was instrumental in facilitating the partnership between DIMER and PCOM; and Omar Khan, MD, MHS, president and CEO of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance—of which PCOM is a member institution.

“By partnering with DIMER for these many years, PCOM has been able to provide high-quality medical education for individuals with a passion for healthcare, who may not have otherwise been able to receive it,” said Deborah Benvenger, chief admissions officer at PCOM. “It is our hope that these caring, competent students will return to their home state to serve their hometown communities.”

Read the article here.

During the evening, DHSA President and CEO Omar Khan, MD, MHS, discussed the relationship between DHSA and DIMER.  That presentation can be found here.



DOVER (October 23, 2019) – Today, the Division of Public Health (DPH), along with state and community partners, hosted its annual stakeholder meeting to discuss the Delaware State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) and present the 2019 annual SHIP report. The report serves as an update on progress made and identifies to what degree, DPH and its stakeholders and partners are aligned with the SHIP’s priority areas. 


The purpose of the State Health Improvement Plan is to describe how DPH and the community it serves will work together to improve the health of Delaware’s population. Communities, stakeholders, and partners can use the SHIP to set priorities, direct the use of resources, and develop and implement projects, programs and policies. The SHIP’s four priority areas, identified through a State Health Needs Assessment (SHNA) process, are: chronic disease, maternal and child health, substance use disorder and mental health.


“The Delaware State Health Improvement Plan is more comprehensive than the roles and responsibilities of the health department alone, and depends on the participation of a broad set of community stakeholders and partners,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “These community members have done an outstanding job to improve health by aligning efforts and investments in projects, programs and policies.”


The SHIP process follows a five-year action cycle; the most recent SHIP began in 2015 to 2016, with the needs assessment. Wednesday’s annual SHIP meeting brought together stakeholders for the first time since working on the assessment, and provided an opportunity for attendees to discuss progress made this past year, as well as identify gaps. The 2019 SHIP Report discusses which recommendations have the greatest degrees of alignment with stakeholder efforts, and where more work is needed. The 2019 SHIP Annual Report is available on DelawareSHIP.org, which has an updated resources section and an updated look.


The report shows that there is substantial alignment underway across each of the Delaware SHIP priority areas, with the greatest emphasis seen in the area of chronic disease. The greatest degree of alignment was observed in “making the healthy choice the easy choice”; the least amount of alignment is occurring around efforts to increase the number of Medicaid dental providers in underserved areas. In the area of maternal and child health, stakeholder groups are more aligned to promote health education and emphasize healthy parenting in schools than they are around efforts to incorporate graduated levels for health education in schools. In addressing substance use disorder, stakeholder groups are in strong alignment to reduce substance use disorders overall, and are particularly focused on opioid use disorder. Less alignment is seen around reducing tobacco and tobacco substitute use; however, the passage and signing of Senate Bill 25 in 2019, which raised the minimum age to buy tobacco and vape products from 18 to 21, is a sign of great progress.  


In the area of mental health, stakeholders are most aligned around improving access to behavioral and mental health services, with less alignment found around providing each school with a trained mental health provider. However, efforts to help fund and/or expand these type of services are underway through the FY2020 state budget and federal grants. The needs assessment also determined that none of these recommendations can or should be implemented separately. To receive the biggest benefit, the Delaware SHIP recommends a policy, systems and environmental (PSE) approach. System-wide, stakeholders have promoted health in all policies, engaged in social marketing campaigns, and addressed social determinants of health. 


In 2021, the SHIP’s partners will participate in another needs assessment, which will lead to the publication of the next SHIP in 2023. 


Implementation of the SHIP project involves a collaboration between DPH, the Partnership for Healthy Communities at the University of Delaware and the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association. Other stakeholder groups include hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), health-focused groups, coalitions, and research and education institutions. As part of the SHIP’s five-year action cycle, DPH conducts a periodic review process that helps the agency understand the needs of the community, identify gaps in services, and respond to emerging and continuous trends in health and well-being.


Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary

Jill Fredel, Director of Communications

302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Email:  jill.fredel@delaware.gov


DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
302-744-4907, Cell 302-612-6223

Lecture Series @ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Spring 2020



Spring 2020 Semester begins Tuesday, February 11th!
Class time: 9:00 – 10:15 am
Register Online: http://www.olli.udel.edu/wilmington/registration/


February 11, 2020: 
Hickam’s Dictum

February 18, 2020: A Persistent Fever

February 25, 2020: What’s Old is New Again

March 3, 2020: A Tale in Two Parts

March 10, 2020: The Genetics of Disease

March 17, 2020: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

March 24, 2020: Basic Lifesaving Techniques

March 31, 2020: Spring Break (no class)

April 7, 2020: Unplanned Weight Loss

April 14, 2020: Dicken’s Diagnosis

April 21, 2020: A Disease So Old, It’s Mentioned in the Bible

April 28, 2020: Infant Emergencies

May 5, 2020: Serious Accidents

May 12, 2020: Young Adult Diagnoses

Surgeon General’s Message on the Current Measles Outbreaks

Dear Partners,

The Nation’s Doctor would like to share a very important message with you about the current measles outbreaks occurring throughout our country.

Measles is a highly-contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body.

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around that person will also become infected if they’re not yet vaccinated. You can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left.  And what is even more worrisome is that an infected person can spread measles to others even before the infected person develops symptoms—from four days before they develop the measles rash through four days afterwards.

The good news is that measles can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.

The MMR vaccine has an excellent safety record and is highly effective. It is one of the most effective vaccines we have in our country.

Surgeon General Adams hopes you will share his message with your networks. It’s up to us to protect the health of our communities.

For more information, please visit CDC.gov

Office of the Surgeon General

Delaware Mini Medical School

Designed for individuals who want to gain a deeper understanding of the world of medicine, Mini-Medical School is a free, six-week series of lectures for adults of all ages and high school students co-sponsored with ChristianaCare.

Attendees learn about important trends in diagnosing and treating illness and general health topics. Faculty will provide in-depth lectures and allow time for questions to enhance the experience. There are no tests or grades. No previous medical training is required. Participants who attend all six sessions will receive a Certificate of Achievement.

Light refreshments will be served.


2020 Mini-Med Lecture Schedule

Week 1. Special Health Care Needs – Making the Transition to Adulthood for those with Special Needs

Thursday, February 27, 2020
Registration – 6:30 p.m., Lecture – 7 to 9 p.m.


Week 2. Kidney Transplant: Preparation by the Donor and Recipient

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Registration – 6:30 p.m., Lecture – 7 to 9 p.m.


Week 3. Psychological Assessment: Tools and Methods for Understanding Our Behaviors

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Registration – 6:30 p.m., Lecture – 7 to 9 p.m.


Week 4. The Evolution of the Nurse Practitioner & Physicans Assistant Role in Medicine

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Registration – 6:30 p.m., Lecture – 7 to 9 p.m.


Week 5. The New Field of Immunotherapy

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Registration – 6:30 p.m., Lecture – 7 to 9 p.m.


Week 6. Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders

Thursday, April 2, 2020
Registration – 6:30 p.m., Lecture – 7 to 9 p.m.


Seating is limited. Register online or call 800-693-CARE (2273).

February Awareness

February is…

African American History Month – https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/
American Heart Month – http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month – http://www.groupbstrepinternational.org/
National Cancer Prevention Month – https://www.whatnext.com/blog/posts/february-is-national-cancer-prevention-month
National Children’s Dental Health Month – http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month
National Condom Month – http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/february-national-condom-month/

The Week of…

Feb 7 – 14: Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week – https://mendedhearts.org/chd-awareness-week/
Feb 2 – 8: Burn Awareness Week – http://ameriburn.org/prevention/burn-awareness-week/
Feb 9 – 15: National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week – https://www.aacvpr.org/Events-Education/Live-Workshops/Cardiac-Pulmonary-Rehabilitation-Weeks

The Day of…

Feb 1: National Wear Red Day – https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/get-involved/give/wear-red-and-give
Feb 4: World Cancer Day – http://www.worldcancerday.org/
Feb 7: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – https://nationalblackaidsday.org/
Feb 14: National Donor Day – https://www.organdonor.gov/index.html


Innovative Discoveries Series

Recovery of Functional Mobility after Stroke

Functional mobility and physical activity are often profoundly affected after stroke. As a group, stroke survivors are more physically inactive than even the most sedentary older adults.  Lack of physical activity has serious consequences in persons with stroke, including an increased risk of recurrent stroke, developing other diseases and mortality.  This talk will focus on our current understanding of factors that can influence mobility and activity recovery and the impact of rehabilitation.

Presented By:

Darcy Reisman, PT, PhD

Professor and Chairperson, Physical Therapy, University of Delaware
Professor, Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, University of Delaware
Academic Director, Neurologic and Older Adult PT Clinic, University of Delaware
Faculty, University of Delaware-Johns Hopkins Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program
Faculty, University of Delaware Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program

Free!  Lunch will be served!

This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.


Friday, February 28, 2020
Noon to 1 p.m.
In-person: Christiana Hospital, Conference Room 1100
Online: Watch live at https://bluejeans.com/361095905
Or join meeting ID 361095905 on the BlueJeans app on your smartphone or tablet

This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

Upcoming Lectures:


CCHS Global Health Residency Track


Please join us for this month’s global health talk!
The Global Health Residency Tracks of Christiana Care Health System, in partnership with the Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association, are pleased to invite you to this month’s global health talk.

Thursday, January 30, 2020
5:30 – 6:30 pm
LIVE: Christiana Hospital, Main Building, Room 1000

Adventures in Global Health – Lessons from the Field.

Dr. Khan has worked on the Global Polio Eradication Program with the World Health Organization, on HIV/AIDS in South Asia, and more broadly on leading global health education and collaboration initiatives for the last 2 decades.  He is Editor-in-Chief of the Delaware Journal of Public Health, and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He has authored or co-authored 4 books in the area of global health, including ‘Readings in Global Health’ co-edited with Sir Michael Marmot; ‘The End of Polio?’ with Tim Brookes; and ‘Megacities & Global Health’ co-edited with Dr. Gregory Pappas. He serves in leadership roles for the Consortium of Universities for Global Health and the American Public Health Association.

His talk will focus on key lessons learned from global health work including the links between geopolitics, development, and health.

Omar Khan, MD, MHS, FAACP


The CCHS Global Health Curriculum is an interdepartmental collaboration, supporting the Global Health Tracks in the Depts. of Medicine and Family Medicine, and the Med-Peds Residency, with the support of the Delaware Academy of Medicine, Delaware Public Health Association, and Delaware Academy of Family Physicians.

All are welcome to attend this talk.  Global Health Curriculum residents are required to attend.  There is no charge to attend this event, but registration is required. Food and Refreshments will be served.

Images from the 89th Annual Meeting of the Academy/DPHA

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