Issue 485 - November 17, 2020
In This Issue:
  • Governor Imposes New Restrictions in Response to COVID-19 Spread

  • Latest Information on COVID-19 in Delaware

  • Businesses Impacted by Newly Announced Restrictions Eligible for Additional Grants
Governor Imposes New Restrictions in Response to COVID-19 Spread
NOVEMBER 17, 2020: Governor John Carney today announced additional statewide restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 as Delaware and the rest of the nation experience a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

The restrictions will be included a revision to the governor’s omnibus emergency order that will be issued later this week.

Governor Carney’s order will include the following restrictions, which take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, November 23:

  • Indoor gatherings in homes must be capped at no more than 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings outside of homes must be limited to 30 percent of the venue’s stated fire capacity, up to a cap of 50 people. This includes all events, such as weddings, funerals, services in houses of worship, performances, political gatherings, and events in public spaces including fire halls.
  • Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Up to 250 may be allowed with a plan approved by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).
  • Restaurants must operate at no more than 30 percent of fire capacity indoors, with allowances for additional outdoor seating.
  • Governor Carney’s order will also prohibit Delaware youth sports organizations, teams and venues from hosting or participating in tournaments with out-of-state teams, effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1. The order includes a provision prohibiting Delaware teams from traveling across states lines for tournaments.

Based on a weekly review of publicly available data, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) continues to recommend that K-12 public schools operate in a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote instruction.

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Latest Information on COVID-19 in Delaware
NOVEMBER 17, 2020 -- Much of Governor John Carney's weekly COVID-19 press briefing earlier this afternoon centered on new restrictions he is imposing on public dining, youth sports, and other activities (see item above) in a bid to slow the recent growth of coronavirus cases in The First State.

Joining the governor in the auditorium of the Carvel State Office Building was Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, and Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director AJ Schall.

To watch the entire briefing, click here or on the image above. 

Here are some of the highlights of the event:

Gov. John Carney

  • “The actions we are taking today are ones I’d rather we not have to take. … We have objectives to increase economic activity and business operations as well as improving the health of the community ... so what we are doing today is an attempt to strike a balance.”

  • Current COVID-19 stats: 
-- 739 fatalities where the virus was a significant factor.
-- 153 hospitalizations including 32 patients in critical care.
(Peak hospitalizations in Delaware occurred on April 27th at 337 patients.)
-- The seven-day average of positive tests is 5.5%. 
-- The seven-day average of new daily cases is 347.3. 
(Up from an average of about 60 cases in late September.)

  • Current Delaware testing totals thus far this year: 385,476 total people tested; 634,013 tests administered (some people being tested more than once). Thus far in November, there have been 58,421 tests administered (as per DEMA Director AJ Schall).

  • On COVID-19 and Hospital Capacity: “We estimate that the total critical care capacity statewide in hospitals is in the 400 to 450 [bed] range, depending on the day.” (According to the American Hospital Directory, total permanent hospital beds in Delaware number more than 2,000, with availability varying.)

  • “We are seeing a surge. Cases are spreading most often during gatherings with others who don’t live with them.” (primarily indoors)

  • “We need to do what it takes to push down this spread and get on the other side of this surge.”

  • On limiting indoor, private gatherings to no more than 10 people staring on Monday: “We rely primarily, on most of this, on voluntary compliance. … We’re not going to be knocking on people’s doors to see how many are at dinner for Thanksgiving.”

Dr. Karyl Rattay

  • Clearly we’ve seen an acceleration of our cases, a pretty rapid increase, over the past few weeks and we are all concerned about the impact that this will have.”

  • “I’m really astonished at how many Halloween parties took place in our state and I do think that that’s part of what drove our acceleration.”

  • On COVID-19 and Schools: Says there is broad evidence – in Delaware, other U.S. states, and European counties – that COVID-19 is not being spread in schools. “Schools are safe because our educators and our staff are really doing a great job with putting these mitigation protocols in place, so they end up being very controlled environments for the staff and the students."

  • The percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 after having attended gatherings/events (e.g. - house parties, religious services, sporting events, restaurants, etc.) reportedly jumped from 18% in August to 28% in October.

  • Called restaurants “a very risky setting” due to the dinners being in close proximity, with their masks off, often indoors. “It’s not the fault of the restaurants. The restaurant [operators] are doing a lot of hard work … keeping things clean, but the reality is [COVID-19] is spread through respiratory droplets and it’s hard to control that in a restaurant setting.”

  • On cutting restaurant capacity to from 60% of rated occupancy to 30%: “We truly acknowledge the painful impact that this has on restaurants and the people who work there ... and we would not make this recommendation if it were not important in decreasing the spread [of the virus].” 

  • Thanksgiving Day Guidelines: Limit social gatherings to household members. College students returning home for the holidays should get tested, wear face coverings, limit contact before and after arriving.

For the latest statistics on COVID-19 in Delaware, click here.
Businesses Impacted by Newly Announced Restrictions Eligible for Additional Grants
NOVEMVER 17, 2020 -- Governor Carney today announced an expansion of the DE Relief Grants program to aid businesses hardest hit by his new COVID-19 restrictions.

The expansion will provide up to $25 million in additional relief for enterprises that are being disproportionately impacted by the governor's COVID-19 response measures. Qualifying businesses, including restaurants and taprooms, will receive double their original grant allocation.

For more information, use this link:
Impacted businesses will reportedly be contacted the Division of Small Business.

The DE Relief Grants program is funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The application deadline is December 4, 2020.