Del. ready for election day and Halloween, officials say

Delaware is using two more colors — light green and orange — to convey nuances in its COVID-19 tracking.
Delaware is using two more colors — light green and orange — to convey nuances in its COVID-19 tracking.

Election day and Halloween were repeatedly brought up in the state’s weekly COVID-19 briefing today, with a key comment about the election that don’t relate to the pandemic.

“I’m confident we will be prepared for what happens on election day and after election day,” Gov. John Carney said when asked about possible voter intimidation and the potential for civil unrest,

Teams have been assessing cyber threats, he added, also encouraging people to exercise their right to vote.

The state is ready for voting next week within coronavirus guidelines, based on a poll of poll workers on how guidelines were followed during the primary. “The results are very promising for Delaware’s polls to be a safe place to go,” said Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Rattay also reviewed guidelines for safely enjoying Halloween. Traditional trick-or-treating is not recommended, and the mask on a Halloween costume is not good enough to reduce exposure, she said.

“I ask that all Delawareans celebrate Halloween in a way that’s safe,” Carney added.

The governor generated the event’s lightest moment when he announced a virtual costume contest. People are urged to submit photos of themselves in costume, and “we’ll repost our favorites on @JohnCarneyDE!”

Rattay, Carney; and AJ Schall, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, started out the 75-minute briefing by emphasizing new ways to analyze what’s going on with the pandemic. Some are numbers, and some are colors.

The state converted this month to announcing “percent positive” numbers on its dashboard, to reflect how more people are being tested and retested. So far, 343,141 Delawareans have been tested, and they have received 542,722 tests.

The new colors are light green and orange, fitting in between the old colors of green, yellow and red, to quickly indicate the status of supplies, cases and almost anything measurable.

Carney repeated that the data must still be considered with “common sense” to make “smart decisions.” One key decision: reopening schools.

Delawareans want to “have as many children in school as possible and as safely as possible,” he said, noting that reopening schools is a local decision.

And some announcements:

• More than 50,000 people have downloaded the state’s contact-tracing app.

• Two new trailers will allow for 15 more testing sites a week.

• The average lag between tests being given and testing results being received by people is down to 30.5 hours, Schall said, with the state working to bring that down to 24 hours.

• Statewide cases are “leveling off, but higher than we want them to be,” Carney said. There are about 130 new cases per day now, much higher than the 80s and 90s per reported in the summer.

• Delaware on Monday submitted a plan to the federal government on handling a future vaccine.

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