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.

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.

DPH PRESENTS 2019 STATE HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PLAN PROGRESS REPORT

 

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
Email: 
jennifer.brestel@delaware.gov

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

CDC Public Health Grand Rounds

The Emerging Role of Pathogen Genomics in Public Health

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
1:00 pm ET
Watch in person (Global Communications Center, Building 19), or live via webcast.

 

The Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) Program, established by Congress in 2013, has led the adaptation and deployment of novel laboratory technologies, namely next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, in the US public health system. AMD technologies are now in use across the range of infectious diseases of public health importance, such as bacterial foodborne illness, tuberculosis, influenza, malaria and Legionnaires’ Disease. This session of Public Health Grand Rounds will address the rapid advances in AMD, how these technologies are being applied in public health, and their future uses.

 

Previous Grand Rounds

Learn More