The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is encouraging parents of teens who participated in senior week activities that involved living in a group setting, or attending a large gathering, to have them tested for COVID-19. The recommendation comes after DPH learned of several positive cases among teens living in a rental unit in the Delaware beach area.
At least three out of more than a dozen teens who were living in a rental unit in Dewey Beach recently tested positive for COVID-19. While there, the teens attended several crowded gatherings in Rehoboth, potentially exposing as many as a hundred or more to the virus. DPH has begun making contact with the positive cases and their contacts and is providing guidance on how to safely self-isolate or self-quarantine.
DPH will not be providing additional information about these particular cases. DPH is not currently aware of additional cases of COVID-19 from senior week activities, but strongly recommends anyone who participated in senior week activities, especially in Dewey/Rehoboth beach, and who lived or stayed with a group, or attended a large gathering, to consider themselves at risk for the virus, self-monitor for symptoms and to consider getting tested. Information about testing events, including community testing sites and free-standing sites operated by the health care systems and hospitals, is listed on the testing section of the Delaware coronavirus website at: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/.
“It is important for teens participating in senior week activities to consider themselves at-risk, and get tested for, COVID-19. The risk of COVID-19 spread among other young people, of different households, living in group settings without social distancing or wearing face coverings is real, and we will have no way of tracing all of the individuals they may have exposed because they likely don’t know everyone’s names,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Just because we are reopening, does not mean the virus is gone. It does not mean the risk is gone. It does not mean things are back to normal.”
“This incident underscores the importance of wearing face coverings and social distancing,” said DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong. “We recognize that the risk for transmission is going to increase during reopening; this was incorporated into our overall reopening strategy. However, for reopening to progress, we continue to ask the public to follow basic infection control and prevention measures. It’s critically important for people to remember – the more interactions people have with each other, especially when not social distancing and wearing a face covering, the higher the risk of infection.”
Families whose children participated in senior week activities at the beach, and are planning graduation parties, should consider rescheduling them for 14 days after they left. If they hold them, they should consider their children at-risk for the virus and limit the teens’ exposure to vulnerable family and friends such as grandparents or family members with chronic health conditions.
DPH is also encouraging teens and young adults who may be living together during the summer months, particularly in the beach area where group living is a common practice, to consider getting tested at least once a month – or immediately if they become symptomatic. Those who work in industries with more frequent contact with members of the public (including the hospitality and restaurant industry) should also consider being tested for COVID-19 once a month.
If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste. Other symptoms such as headache or digestive symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or lack of appetite) have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may prompt further screening, action or investigation. If you are sick and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the grocery store or the pharmacy to get what you need.
Delaware is considering patients fully recovered seven days after the resolution of their symptoms and 10 days after onset of symptoms. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to self-isolate at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine.
Additional demographic data on COVID-19 cases and deaths, including race/ethnicity, more age-specific data and rates information by ZIP code, can be found on the Division of Public Health’s My Healthy Community data portal.
Individuals who have complaints about individuals violating public gathering restrictions should contact state or local law enforcement. Concerns that a business may be violating operating restrictions should be directed to: [email protected]. Questions related to business re-openings or operations as businesses reopen should go to [email protected].
Individuals with questions about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, or email [email protected]. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Medically related questions regarding testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can be submitted by email at [email protected]. Questions regarding unemployment claims should be emailed to: [email protected].
In addition, the Division of Public Health asks any Delaware health care, long-term care, residential, or other high-risk facility with questions or concerns to email: [email protected] or call the DPH Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 and press ext. 2.
DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.