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Coronavirus update: Delaware’s biggest daily surge in cases

Wilmington, Delaware, during the coronavirus shutdown

A jogger can be seen in the distance running in Wilmington during the coronavirus shutdown Thursday March 26, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Saquan Stimpson for WHYY)

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Delaware saw its biggest jump in cases of the coronavirus, just one day after the state recorded its largest increase in deaths.

The state now has 3,200 cases, an increase of 269. Seven more people have died from COVID-19, putting the state’s death toll at 89. The number of patients being treated at Delaware hospitals saw a slight increase of six more patients for a total of 269.

Four of the latest people to die from the virus were residents of long-term care facilities.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 237 residents of Delaware long-term care facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. Fifty-two residents of those facilities have died from complications related to COVID-19.

All but one of the seven who died Tuesday had underlying health conditions. They ranged in age from 50 to 88.

Sussex County continues to see a surge in cases. With 1,317 cases, the southernmost Delaware county is quickly approaching New Castle County’s total of 1,352. 

In response to the rising numbers in southern Delaware, the state is partnering with local hospitals, poultry companies and others to get more Sussex County residents tested.

“We’ve seen a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in communities across Sussex County,” Gov. John Carney said. “This new testing program is designed to save lives.”

In addition to offering free tests, the partnership will work to educate people in the community about how to protect themselves. The poultry industry is the county’s biggest employer, so the Division of Public Health will work with chicken growers to help their employees stay safe.

“In addition to testing sites at poultry plants, there will also be community testing sites, which we expect will reach workers in other industries and their families,” DPH director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. “We believe this community-based testing strategy will be critical in identifying the extent of the spread of COVID-19 and of mitigating it.”

Relief fund started for DSU students

A fund to help students at Delaware State University has raised $250,000 in about ten days. That’s a quarter of the $1 million goal. More than 800 Delaware State University students have submitted applications to get assistance, totaling $650,000.

So far, a DSU oversight committee that is distributing the funds has approved 216 requests for financial assistance. “Now is not the time to plant victory flags,” DSU president Tony Allen said.  “For those who can, we need your help to ensure that these young people can continue to realize their dreams.”

“I could not be more proud of the hundreds of individuals, institutions, and community groups who have already given to the fund,” Allen said. “In just ten days, organizations like Laffey-McHugh Foundation and The Links of Wilmington; individuals like the Rossis and Louise Ballard Cummings; and our terrific Delaware State University Alumni Association have been a tremendous boost to our efforts.”

The first contribution to the fund came from Bank of America Market President Chip Rossi and his wife Tracy. The Laffey-McHugh Foundation made a $100K gift to the fund last week. The Wilmington Chapter of The Links, Inc. chipped in another $10,000.

DSU students left campus March 7 for Spring Break, expecting to be back at school March 16. School officials suspended classes as of March 12, leaving lots of students struggling with significant challenges.

Testing planned in Wilmington

Wilmington residents who may be experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus can get tested Thursday in the parking lot of Henrietta Johnson Medical Center in the Southbridge section of Wilmington. The screening will be co-hosted by the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus from 1 to 3 p.m.

Millions available for Delaware nonprofits

Delaware nonprofits could get part of $12 million in funds when the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program relaunches.

Many nonprofits were shut out of the first round of the PPP because the funds ran out.

While the funds are not yet available for the next round of funding, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement says nonprofits should be in the process of preparing the application. The National Development Council has published a webinar to help in that process.

The money will be guaranteed to be available for Delaware nonprofits by the NDC with financial support from the Longwood Foundation, Welfare Foundation, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Discover Bank.

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