The state of Delaware is recommending that unvaccinated people get tested weekly for the COVID-19 virus.
In a press release issued Tuesday, the state also said those who are not vaccinated should be tested five to seven days after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 and that they should isolate at home immediately if they are unvaccinated and develop symptoms of COVID-19, as well as quarantine immediately at home if exposed to the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends fully vaccinated persons get tested 3-5 days after being exposed to someone with COVID. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine after exposure, the state said.
The CDC also recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.
“Testing is the key to identifying and preventing additional infection,” the press release said.
The move by Gov. John Carney, the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency comes as Delaware’s new cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing.
On June 25, there were 20 new cases a day, based on a seven day average. On Tuesday, it was 117 a day. For the last five days, new cases of over 100 per day have been reported — and climbing.
Public Health repeatedly has said that the Delta variant is causing the rise, largely among the unvaccinated, but infections are spreading slightly in vaccinated people, too.
(The state COVID-19 dashboard also said that 72.9% of those eligible for vaccines have had at least one shot, and that nearly 555 of all Delawareans have had at least one shot).
The number of those hospitalized has risen, but not as much as it did in the spring 2020 and winter 2020 before vaccinations were available. Health officials say vaccinations are keeping people out of the hospital.
“While vaccination is the best way to put an end to this pandemic, routine COVID-19 testing remains key for those who have not yet taken that step, or who are unable to be vaccinated,” Carney said in the press release. “Our cases are increasing, and we need to do all we can to catch any potential surges as early as possible so we can do contact tracing and stop the spread of the virus immediately.”
Testing also helps identify infections among people who have no symptoms and allows them to take steps that will stop them from unknowingly spreading the disease, said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of Public Health.
Testing options can be found at de.gov/gettested. They include:
Testing is available as part of the State’s program at several Walgreens locations. Walgreens will be retiring testing at some of its stores with lower volume.
As it does, 30 Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Health Mart pharmacies statewide will offer testing through a new federal program, which is focused on areas of high social vulnerability.
Testing at the state-run sites and federal program sites are free of charge. Other pharmacies and medical provider sites offer testing but may charge; contact the site for details.
Testing at static vaccine sites
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 4, people can be tested at:
- Georgetown Plaza Shopping Center in Georgetown 19 Georgetown Plaza, 19947, at U.S. 113 and U.S. 9 intersection. Monday/Wednesday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday– 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Blue Hen Corporate Center in Dover 655 S. Bay Road, Suite 1A, Dover 19901. Office is located in the rear of building near the WIC entrance. Monday-Thursday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Oxford/University Plaza in Newark 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, located in the Oxford Building of University Plaza. Monday-Thursday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Canby Park in Wilmington 1946 Maryland Ave., Wilmington 19805, Located in the Elizabeth Shopping Mall. Monday/Wednesday– 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday– 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Public Health and the Department of Emergency Management continue their partnership with Curative to offer free COVID-19 testing at both static locations, and rotating sites statewide. check the website for locations.
Home kits from libraries, LabCorp
At-home testing is offered free of charge through a partnership with vault and LabCorp to support testing for symptomatic or high-risk individuals.
Starting Tuesday, Delaware Libraries will allow Delawareans to visit most library locations and pick up a take-home rapid test kit for themselves for a family member. Library cards are not required to pick up a take-home test kit, but you can apply for one and take advantage of other library services at the same time.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to a library for a test kit. Instead, go to a fixed or community testing locations.
All schools and early learning facilities throughout the state can now take advantage of free rapid antigen testing for staff and students, the press release said.
Public Health and Emergency Management recently contracted with the Quidel Corp. to staff testing, analysis and reporting, relieving schools of the burden. Routine screening testing is a key strategy recommended by the CDC and re-enforced in its recent guidance for schools and child care facilities.
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, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or headache or congestion or runny nose without a known cause such as allergies.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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