Del. coronavirus recovery: State now offering at-home COVID testing

(Jeff Rhode/ Holy Name Medical Center.)

(Jeff Rhode/ Holy Name Medical Center.)

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Since the start of the pandemic, 19,761 Delawareans have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. That’s a daily increase of 93. On average, over the past two weeks, the state is averaging about 104 new cases every day. There are 62 COVID-19 patients currently being treated at Delaware hospitals. So far, 628 people have died from coronavirus-related causes.

In-home testing begins

There’s been lots of talk this year about voting by mail, now Delaware residents can get COVID-19 tested by mail.

The state unveiled a new system that will allow residents, especially those at higher risk of infection, to take a coronavirus test in the comfort of their home. The state will prioritize tests for residents over the age of 60 and those in communities where the infection rate is on the rise.

The at-home tests were first launched in August to test all school teachers in the state, said A.J. Schall, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. “It worked well, and we decided to roll it out for Delaware residents,” he said. “We want to stress the convenience.”

The kits are sent overnight via UPS. A medical provider will guide residents through the simple swab test in a ZOOM video conference session. The swab is then sent back to the states and results will be delivered over email in 48 to 72 hours.

“We have capacity here and we want to make sure people take advantage of it,” he said.

The test simply involves putting saliva in a tube, and is not the more intrusive nasal swab.

The state will prioritize in-home tests for students at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University. Also, anyone who attended what state officials called a possible “super-spreader” event at a rodeo and concert in Bridgeville in southern Delaware will be prioritized. Tests are also available for residents in Dover and some Wilmington and New Castle neighborhoods including those in zip codes 19801, 19802, 19805 and 19720.

At his weekly coronavirus briefing, Gov. John Carney expressed some dismay that the state’s numbers have remained steady. “We’re kind of in this uncomfortable middle zone,” he said. “We’re not as good as we want to be, we’re not as healthy as we want to be. We don’t have as little COVID-19 spread as we’d like to see, but we’re not as bad as other states and not as bad as we’ve been.”

Carney encouraged residents to get a flu vaccine in hopes of avoiding an increased strain on Delaware hospitals.

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