For the second time in just over a week, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is asking people in the Delaware beach area, particularly in Rehoboth and Dewey Beach, to get tested for COVID-19. The recommendation comes after testing in Rehoboth Beach on Thursday identified approximately 100 persons as positive for the disease, and testing in Dewey on Friday identified another dozen persons as positive. 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 is investigating potential additional cases in the beach area as well.
Testing is highly encouraged for:
- those living in the beach area with people who are not part of your family;
- those attending parties, or restaurants/bars in the last two weeks where you were not wearing a face covering or social distancing;
- people working in the restaurant, hotel or retail industry who have frequent contact with other people.
“We are extremely concerned by yet another cluster of COVID-19 cases in the beach area and the potential for spread to others both at work and in social gatherings,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.
“We know that some of the positive persons have been at parties recently, potentially transmitting the virus to others who may still be here or may have returned to their homes in other counties or states. We are also concerned by our own staff observations in the beach area and pictures seen on social media of people not wearing face coverings or social distancing while they are out and about, including at bars and restaurants.
“Make no mistake, continuing this behavior is a recipe for disaster. It is a sure way for us to end up with widespread infection that ultimately may not be contained to the beach area.” Dr. Rattay indicated that the risk for widespread infection, hospitalization and even death is higher when people spend more time, close together (not social distancing), in an indoor setting such as a restaurant or bar, where they are not using face coverings.
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.
If you believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have symptoms of illness, make sure to distance yourself from others, particularly vulnerable populations. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions – including serious heart conditions, chronic lung conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity and those who are immunocompromised, including through cancer treatment – may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.