COVID-19 Updates

Delaware is currently under a State of Emergency due to the Coronavirus Outbreak. As of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 8:00 am, a Stay-at-Home Order is in effect for non-essential Delaware businesses, and individuals. On Sunday, March 29, 2020, Governor Carney ordered all out-of-state visitors to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Please do your part to keep everyone safe and, if you are able, STAY HOME!

  • Division of Health and Social Services
    • Information Line: 1-866-408-1899
    • Information Line (TTY): 1-800-232-5460
  • Press Releases related to the coronavirus can be found here
  • For the latest Delaware updates, please go to de.gov/coronavirus

While we will do our best to keep you up to date, due to the ever changing nature of this pandemic updates may lag behind realtime. Please visit the Immunization Coalition of Delaware webpage (a program of the Academy/DPHA and the Division of Public Health) and the DHSS website (above) for more up to date information.

More Resources:

DPH Announces Coronavirus Call Center

DOVER, DE (March 4, 2020) As part of the state’s response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak that has impacted many countries, including the U.S., the Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the opening of a call center at its State Health Operations Center (SHOC) in Smyrna. The call center is open to take questions from the public, schools, medical providers, state agencies and community organizations. Hours of operation will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours may be adjusted to accommodate for peak volume. Any changes will be communicated through press release and social media communications.

The call center number is 1-866-408-1899. There is also an email address where individuals can submit questions: DPHCall@delaware.gov .  A recorded message will provide instructions for persons calling after 4:30 p.m. or on weekends who may have symptoms of concern.  Additionally, if you are a returning traveler from a country with a level 2 Travel Alert or higher (China, Japan, Italy, South Korea or Iran), and have a medical emergency, you should contact 9-1-1.

“We are receiving a tremendous number of calls from concerned individuals, and from organizations seeking guidance on what they should be doing to mitigate community spread of coronavirus disease, should it occur in Delaware,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Opening this call center will enable us to answer people’s very valid concerns and enable key epidemiology staff to better focus on the job of monitoring returning travelers, and maintaining our high level of surveillance.”

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DPH Announces Additional Flu-Related Deaths

DPH ANNOUNCES additional flu-related DEATHS, PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO AVOID ILLNESS

DOVER (Feb. 21, 2020) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) continues to urge individuals to take steps to prevent the flu as the number of confirmed flu cases continues to increase, and health officials announce additional flu-related deaths for the 2019-2020 season. To date, nine Delawareans have passed away due to flu-related complications during the 2019-2020 flu season. All nine individuals had underlying medical conditions.

Most recently, an 83-year-old woman from New Castle County who was diagnosed with influenza A passed away this week due to complications from the flu. Last week, a 59-year-old woman from New Castle County who was also diagnosed with influenza A passed away due to flu complications. Of the nine individuals who have passed away this season, they range in age from 29 to 96. Five persons were from New Castle County, one was from Kent County and three were from Sussex County. Six individuals were diagnosed with Influenza A and three were diagnosed with Influenza B. Two of the nine individuals who died from flu complications received the flu vaccine this season.

As of February 15, 2020, there have been 5,047 confirmed cases of influenza in Delaware, including 267 hospitalizations. These numbers reflect only the number of lab-confirmed cases; the actual number of cases circulating statewide is likely much higher. By comparison, at the same time in the 2018-2019 season, there were 3,264 flu cases in Delaware, including 537 hospitalizations, and 13 flu-related deaths.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those we have lost due to the flu,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. People six months and older should receive the flu vaccine every year. The vaccine’s main purpose is to make you less likely to catch the flu, but if you still catch it, the vaccine will make your symptoms milder. It takes two weeks for the antibodies in the flu vaccine to become fully effective, so if you haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, you should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible. Always remember to take any antiviral medicine that your doctor prescribes as needed, also.”

In addition to getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medication, DPH recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as he or she may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

The risk for flu-related deaths is greatly increased in the very young, older individuals, and those of any age who have underlying health conditions. DPH continues to remind the public that there are steps they can take to prevent the spread of the flu. It is important for older individuals with underlying health conditions not only to be vaccinated, but also to limit contact with anyone who may be sick with influenza, and to contact their health care provider as soon as they become ill. Also, family, friends, and caregivers of older individuals with underlying health conditions should be vaccinated and arrange for alternative care, if possible, if they become sick with influenza.

DPH also recommends that individuals with chronic diseases monitor and manage their conditions, as non-compliance with physician’s recommendations can increase the risk for infection and complications. This includes maintaining appointments with their health care provider, taking medications as prescribed, and following diet and exercise recommendations from their doctor. Additionally, individuals who smoke and who are ready to stop using tobacco are encouraged to call the Delaware Quitline at 1-866-409-1858.

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. People with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Flu vaccines are available at many pharmacies and grocery stores, and through primary care physicians and some specialists. To find participating stores, enter your ZIP code in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flu vaccine finder at www.cdc.gov/flu/. For more information about the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov/ or call DPH at 1-800-282-8672. Flu shots are still available at DPH clinics located within the State Service Centers:

  • Porter State Service Center, 509 W. Eighth St., Wilmington. For all ages 9 and up. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Hudson State Service Center, 501 Ogletown Road, Newark. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 302-283-7587 (choose Option 2) to make an appointment Monday through Friday.
  • Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Call 302-857-5140 to make an appointment Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Milford State Service Center – Riverwalk, 253 N.E. Front St., Milford. For ages 9 years and older. Mondays and Fridays. Walk-ins are accepted on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. By appointment only on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 302-424-7130 to make an appointment.
  • Anna C. Shipley State Service Center, 350 Virginia Ave., Seaford. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Adams State Service Center, 544 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. For all ages, including children age 6 months and older. Walk-ins welcome on Mondays only from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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 LAUNCHES MY HEALTHY COMMUNITY DATA PORTAL

DOVER (May 13, 2019) — Today, the Division of Public Health (DPH) launched a data portal allowing Delawareans to assess the overall health of their communities. The My Healthy Community data portal delivers neighborhood-focused population health, environmental and social determinant of health data to the public. The innovative technological showpiece, which was unveiled at the Rt. 9 Library and Innovation Center in New Castle, allows users to navigate the data at the smallest geographical area available, to understand and explore data about the factors that influence health.

“This is another example of how we are making data more transparent, accessible, and easy to understand,” said Governor John Carney. “Sharing community-level statistics and data allows Delawareans to understand what is occurring in their neighborhoods, make informed decisions about their health, and take steps to continue improving our quality of life.”

Delaware residents are able to explore a variety of data indicators in the following categories: community characteristics, the environment, chronic disease, and mental health and substance use. Air quality data, asthma incidence data, public and private drinking water results, and drug overdose and death data are currently available. Over the next several months, additional categories and data indicators are expected to be added including community safety, maternal and child health, healthy lifestyles, health services utilization, infectious diseases, education, socioeconomic influencers, lead poisoning, suicide and homicide, and populations vulnerable to climate change.

“Our health and the environment in which we live are inherently connected,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. “The portal will allow communities, governments and stakeholders to better understand the issues that impact our health, determine priorities and track progress. Communities can use the data to initiate community-based approaches, support and facilitate discussions that describe and define population health priorities, and educate residents about their community’s health and the environment in which they live.”

Residents can search health indicators by street address, ZIP code, census tract, neighborhood, town/city, county and state. In addition, they can compare their community’s health measures with other Delaware communities, their county, and the state as a whole, as well as view data trends over time. To ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), not all data can be made available at the community level therefore, the system is designed to provide data for the smallest geographic area possible.

“Access to data is a key factor in making progress toward a stronger and healthier Delaware. The ability to easily access such crucial information like substance use and overdose data by ZIP code enables Delawareans to compare it to larger areas and examine trends,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. Drug overdose deaths, non-fatal drug overdoses, and youth use of prescription pain medicines are available through My Healthy Community. Also for the first time, Emergency Department non-fatal drug overdose data from DPH, and Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) data will be available thanks to a partnership with the Division of Professional Regulation.

“Addiction, air quality, chronic disease and drinking water quality impact every one of us,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “When communities become aware of the level at which these issues are occurring in their neighborhoods, it can spur action that can improve the quality of life for current and future generations.”

“People want to know detailed information about the health of their communities,” said Rysheema Dixon, Wilmington City Council Member At-Large. “Providing this data with a neighborhood lens is going to open Delawareans’ eyes to how healthy – or unhealthy – their communities really are.”

My Healthy Community has been years in the making through a partnership among several DPH programs, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH), and the Delaware Health Care Commission (HCC). $138,500 in seed funding for this project was provided by DNREC in 2016, $79,000 for the initial research phase, and $59,500 for construction of the of the data portal’s framework with supplemental funding from DPH through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant funds ($30,000 for development). DPH’s contractor for this project was Green River of Brattleboro, Vermont.

“Health and environmental agencies have a long history of separately tracking trends, when, in fact, environmental conditions and health outcomes are often closely related,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This public-access portal brings health and environmental data together and puts this information at the fingertips of all Delawareans, including healthcare and environmental professionals.”

Additional funding was provided by DSAMH for substance use disorder (SUD) data and from the HCC to build in additional health indicators starting this summer, that will also serve to highlight Delaware’s progress in meeting health care benchmarks (obesity, tobacco use, preventable Emergency Department visits, etc.) as part of DHSS’s ongoing efforts to bring transparency to health care spending and to set targets for improving the health of Delawareans. Future funding has been secured from DNREC for data on vulnerable populations and climate change, and from DPH through CDC grants for violent death data and internal sharing of timely SUD data.

My Healthy Community encompasses the Delaware Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHTN), and benefits from participation in an Environmental Public Health Tracking Peer-to-Peer Fellowship program through the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with the Kentucky Department of Health as Delaware’s EPHTN mentor.

Access the My Healthy Community data portal at MyHealthyCommunity.dhss.delaware.gov. Comments can be submitted via an online feedback form.

Smartphone CPR App in New Castle County

Leaders in New Castle County, Delaware, have launched a new smartphone application they say will save lives when help is urgently needed.

Activated when a call is made to 911, the PulsePoint app alerts and directs trained residents to people nearby who need cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. County Executive Matt Meyer said citizen responders, who include off-duty first responders, can make all the difference in those critical moments before first responders arrive.

Learn more