NEWARK, Del. — Delaware now has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19, officials with the Delaware Division of Public Health announced Monday.
The latest patient is a New Castle County woman over the age of 50 who was exposed to someone from another state who tested positive.
The woman is not severely ill and is self-isolated at home.
Epidemiologists from the Division of Public Health indicated she has minimal close contacts in the state and are working to identify any who were possibly exposed.
The case announced Monday is the first in Delaware not connected to the University of Delaware.
The first four – a professor, two graduate students and a post-doctorate researcher – contracted the illness at a social gathering in Princeton, N.J. Two other cases, a professor and his wife, were linked to the earlier cases. The seventh case is a woman who is connected to UD and is also a staff member of Sen. Tom Carper, though it’s not clear how she contracted the illness.
Symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are most similar to lower respiratory infections with patients having fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection at this time. While in some cases illnesses can be severe and require hospitalization, many individuals infected with COVID-19 recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids and taking pain, and fever-reducing medications.
Testing for coronavirus disease is not recommended for individuals who do not have any symptoms of illness. For individuals who have symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), they should contact their primary care provider, who can collect specimens and send them to either the Delaware Public Health Lab or LabCorp for testing. Medical providers should evaluate patients and rule out other causes of illness first before recommending testing for COVID-19.
While testing for the disease at the Public Health Lab requires DPH approval, providers do not need DPH approval to submit test samples to LabCorp. With the addition of commercial lab testing now available, Delaware has enough capacity to accommodate its current testing needs. Providers can use flu kits to collect a nasal swab for testing. Commercial labs are required to report testing and results to DPH.
DPH advises older Delawareans and people with severe chronic health conditions to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging them to “avoid crowds as much as possible” to reduce their risk of contracting coronavirus disease.
If you are in the higher-risk groups for getting very sick from COVID-19, the CDC recommends you should:
• Avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips and defer all cruise trips worldwide.
• Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated space, as much as possible.
• When you go out in public, including to doctor appointments or dialysis, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
• Take everyday precaution to keep space between yourself and others.
• If an outbreak does occur, stay home as much as possible.
• Stock up on supplies, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, food and water, and other household items.
• Have a plan in the event you get sick, including discussing with household members, other relatives, and friends what you might need.
The public can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for those with hearing impairments, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Or they can email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.