2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China

DPH ANNOUNCES THIRD NEGATIVE TEST RESULT FOR CORONAVIRUS

 

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.

Trauma Informed Delaware

In October, 2018, Governor Carney signed Executive Order 24, making Delaware a trauma-informed state.  This order directs the Family Services Cabinet Council to develop tools for training state employees and community partners on the impact of exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), to promote ACE awareness, and to improve services and  interventions for children and families exposed to trauma. The Family Services Cabinet Council is leading efforts to ensure that Delaware becomes a trauma-informed state
by promoting a Trauma Awareness Month in Delaware.

Since that time, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney has brought together a variety of partners to launch Trauma Informed Delaware (TID), a statewide public-private-nonprofit coalition. The goal is to coordinate a sustainable, community-based trauma awareness, prevention, and early intervention system that advances resilience through:
• Access to quality behavioral and integrated health care
• Strength-based services for youth and adults
• Education for providers and the community

 

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.