Del. coronavirus recovery: Gov. Carney ‘mad as hell again’ at N.J. quarantine list

Delaware Gov. John Carney

Delaware Gov. John Carney answers questions regarding Delaware’s response to coronavirus during a press briefing at the Carvel State Office building in Wilmington on April 3, 2020. (Saquan Stimpson for WHYY)

Are you on the front lines of the coronavirus? Help us report on the pandemic.

Delaware added 43 new cases to its coronavirus count on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the First State to 16,643. One more person has died from COVID-19 related causes, which brings the state’s total number of deaths to 595. The number of people being treated at Delaware hospitals is down to 32.

‘I’m mad as hell again’

New Jersey has gone back and forth about whether people traveling to the Garden State from Delaware must quarantine for 14 days. That requirement of Delaware travelers was reinstated on Tuesday, much to the disappointment of Delaware Gov. John Carney.

“We’re back on and I’m mad as hell again,” Carney said in his weekly coronavirus briefing Wednesday afternoon. “That just doesn’t make any sense.”

Carney says he’s made his case to Gov. Phil Murphy but hasn’t been able to get through. “We have asked, time and again, for the formula used to keep us off the list,” Carney said. “All our criteria are better. Hospitalizations? I’d like to compare our hospitalizations to theirs.”

Just 32 Delawareans are being treated in the hospital for the virus, while New Jersey’s hospitals have 471 coronavirus patients. That translates to about 5.3 people hospitalized per 100,000 residents in New Jersey, while Delaware has just 3.7 people hospitalized per 100,000.

“I’m going to continue my intervention there, trying to get the attention, and we need to just keep getting better,” Carney said.

In addition to hospitalizations, Delaware also has been focused on lowering the number of new cases per 100,000 residents. That number is 50.8 for the past week. State leaders would like to see that number under 10.

Another important category is the percentage of people who test positive. For the past week, 4% of people tested come back positive for the virus. That’s getting closer to the target rate of less than 3%.

The only category that is actually where the state wants to be is the average daily hospitalizations, which is within the target rate of less than 10 per 100,000.

If two out of three of those statistics meet the state’s target, Delaware schools would be able to fully re-open for in-person instruction.

More help for small biz, nonprofits

Delaware small business and nonprofits that have continued to struggle will be able to access grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 state leaders announced Wednesday. Money from the state and New Castle County’s share of the CARES ACT will provide at least $100 million to fund the grants.

“Delaware small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they have made considerable sacrifices during the COVID-19 crisis. We owe them our gratitude and support,” Carney said. “These relief grants will help Delaware small businesses begin the process of recovering and will help make investments necessary to create safer spaces for their customers and staff.”

The money can be used for a variety of purposes including buying protective equipment for the workplace, refinancing debt incurred due to the virus, and advertising efforts started as a result of COVID-19.

The Division of Small Business will begin accepting applications in early September and will follow with funding rounds in early October and November.

Get the WHYY app!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal