Delaware has 39 coronavirus cases; Georgetown court closed after worker sent home

A health care worker stands by at a COVID-19 temporary testing site at Abington Hospital in Abington, Pa., Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

A health care worker stands by at a COVID-19 temporary testing site at Abington Hospital in Abington, Pa., Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Updated 7:37 p.m.

Delaware now has 39 cases of coronavirus, the Division of Public Health announced at 10 a.m. Friday. That’s nine more cases from Thursday’s. There are 27 cases in New Castle County, 5 in Kent County and 7 in Sussex County.

On Thursday evening, DPH announced the age range of Delaware COVID-19 patients ranges in age from 14 to 80.

Family Court shuttered

Family Court facilities in Georgetown in Sussex County are closed until further notice. A worker there was sent home this morning after showing signs of COVID-19 while at the southern Delaware courthouse.

The unidentified worker started showing symptoms at the security checkpoint coming into the courthouse. That worker was taken by ambulance to a medical facility.

Though immediate test results were not available, court leaders are proceeding as if it is a case of coronavirus. The court building was immediately cleared, and all court calendars were suspended. The building is now closed for cleaning and decontamination.

Once the decontamination process is complete, the courthouse is expected to reopen, but anyone who was in close contact with the affected worker is to stay home and monitor for symptoms.

Earlier this week, Delaware courts scaled back proceedings dramatically to reduce the possible spread of the virus. Officials put a one-month hold on all jury trials and many other proceedings. Video bail hearings are still going on for people who were recently arrested because there was a warrant out for them.

Gouging warning

State Attorney General Kathy Jennings warned Delaware shoppers to be on the lookout for businesses illegally raising prices to prey on public anxiety. As part of Gov. John Carney’s state of emergency declaration, any increase in price of 10% or more above normal levels is considered price gouging.

“We will not tolerate preying on people’s fear and uncertainty in a public health emergency,” Jennings said. “Exploiting a pandemic for profit is not just shameful and dangerous — it’s also illegal.”

Shoppers can report price gouging to the state Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit via complaint forms posted online at de.gov/consumer.

Pump prices plummet

The stock market is not the only place prices are falling. Gasoline prices have been trending downward since the start of the year, but that trend has accelerated since the spread of coronavirus. AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Ken Grant says the combination of plummeting demand for gas around the world, combined with a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, has pushed the cost for crude oil even lower.

“The average price of gas across Delaware is as low as it has been since January of 2019,” said Ken Grant, public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “And, the impact of COVID-19 and the oil price wars may significantly diminish the typical run-up in gas prices we see through the spring.”

Crude oil prices have fallen below $30 per barrel, the lowest it’s been in more than two decades. The price of crude closed at $26.43 per barrel on Thursday.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Delaware was $2.08, 39 cents less than a year ago. Pennsylvania’s average is $2.39 per gallon, New Jersey’s is $2.31. The national average stands at $2.17.

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