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Delaware coronavirus deaths at seven, outbreak at second care facility

A dart bus driver wears a protective mask while waiting for passengers Friday. March 27, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Saquan Stimpson for WHYY)

A dart bus driver wears a protective mask while waiting for passengers Friday. March 27, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Saquan Stimpson for WHYY)

Updated at 5:10 p.m.

Seven people in Delaware have died from coronavirus as Monday afternoon evening. The total number of cases in the state is now at 264. There are 156 cases in New Castle County, 27 in Kent County and 81 in Sussex County. Forty-six people are hospitalized statewide. 

Emergency SNAP food benefits issued April 1 

Delawareans who are part of the Delaware Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be getting extra benefits as part of the federal coronavirus response. Under a measure approved by Congress earlier this month, any household not already getting the maximum monthly benefit will get extra funds on their SNAP account.

“These emergency benefits will provide much-needed relief for many Delawareans who are struggling to meet their families’ food and nutritional needs because of the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus crisis,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, or DHSS.

The emergency benefit will allow a household’s monthly allotment to increase to the maximum allowed for the size of the family. For example, the maximum benefit for a family of four is $646.

“Along with these new benefits, DHSS will continue to work with our fellow state agencies and community partners to help reduce the number of individuals and families who are worried about going hungry.”

The extra funds will be issued Tuesday night, March 31. The money can be used starting April 1. Another round of emergency food funding will be added to SNAP cards on April 30 for use starting May 1.

There are more than 120,000 Delawareans in the SNAP program. The average family size is about two people, and the average SNAP payment per month is about $233.

Second outbreak at a long-term care facility

An outbreak at a second long-term care facility in the state was reported by the Dept. of Health and Social Services over the weekend. Six residents of HarborChase of Wilmington have tested positive for coronavirus, and five of them are hospitalized. There are 36 people living at the facility right now.

“Responding to multiple cases of COVID-19 in such facilities is among our greatest concerns,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. “The populations who live in these facilities are at the highest risk for COVID-19, based on their age and underlying health conditions.”

DHSS is working with staff at HarborChase to keep the other residents in the home isolated from each other and staff are following proper protocols.

On Thursday, DHSS reported an 86-year-old resident at of Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence in Newark had died of coronavirus. Seven other residents at that facility have also tested positive for the virus.

Quarantine upon arrival

Delaware is the latest state to order visitors to quarantine upon arrival. On Sunday Gov. John Carney modified his state of emergency order for anyone coming from outside the state to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The order goes into effect Monday 8 a.m. and also applies to anyone who has entered the state in the past two weeks, unless they’re a healthcare worker or someone assisting an essential business.

“Delawareans need to stay at home, and anyone from another state visiting Delaware should immediately self-quarantine for two weeks,” Carney said in his announcement.

State and local law enforcement will have the authority to stop vehicles in Delaware with out-of-state license plates to ask quarantine-related questions. A violation of the order constitutes a criminal offense, according to Carney’s announcement.

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