Several teens celebrating the week of the past year in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting officials to recommend tests for anyone who attended large gatherings.
At least three of more than a dozen teens living in a rental unit in Dewey Beach recently tested positive for COVID-19, said Andrea Wojcik, spokeswoman for the Division of Public Health. During their stay in the rental, she said, the teens attended several crowded meetings in Rehoboth, potentially exposing up to a hundred or more to the virus. DPH has begun to make contact with the positive cases and their contacts, and is providing guidance on how to safely isolate or quarantine, she said.
As of the Cape Gazette press deadline of June 22, Jen Brestel, a DPH spokeswoman, said there were no new cases of COVID-19 related to the senior week. Details about when or where the teens stayed are protected information, he said.
Wojcik said DPH would not provide additional information on these particular cases; However, anyone who participated in last year’s week activities, especially in Dewey Beach or Rehoboth Beach, and who lived or stayed with a group or attended a large gathering should be considered at risk for contracting the virus. Wojcik said symptoms should be self-controlled and consider getting tested. Information about testing events, including community testing sites and independent sites operated by health systems and hospitals, is found in the testing section of the Delaware Coronavirus website at: https: //coronavirus.delaware. gov / testing /.
Families whose children participated in last year’s beach activities, and are planning graduation parties, should consider rescheduling them for 14 days after they left, Wojcik said. If they hold such gatherings, they should consider their children at risk of contracting the virus and limit adolescent exposure to vulnerable family and friends, such as grandparents or relatives with chronic health conditions.
DPH is also encouraging teens and young adults who may be living together during the summer months, particularly in the beach area where group living is common practice, to consider getting tested at least once a month, or immediately if they become symptomatic. Those who work in industries with more frequent contact with members of the public (including the hotel / restaurant industry) should also consider getting tested for COVID-19 once a month.
“It is important that adolescents who participate in the activities of the week of the last year consider themselves at risk and take the COVID-19 test. The risk of spreading COVID-19 among other youth from different households living in group settings without social distancing or use of face covers is real, and we will have no way of tracking all the people who may have exposed because they probably do not know the names. of all, ”said DPH director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Just because we’re reopening doesn’t mean the virus is gone. It does not mean that the risk is gone. It doesn’t mean things are back to normal. “
“This incident underscores the importance of wearing facial covering and social distancing,” said DPH medical director Dr. Rick Hong. “We recognize that the risk of transmission will increase during the reopening; this was incorporated into our general reopening strategy. However, for the reopening to progress, we continue to ask the public to follow basic infection control and prevention measures. It is vitally important that people remember this: the more interactions people have with each other, especially when they are not socially estranged and cover their faces, the greater the risk of infection. ”
If you are sick with any of the following symptoms, stay home: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, tremors with chills, loss of smell or taste. Other symptoms such as headache or digestive symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or poor appetite) have been identified as potential symptoms related to COVID-19 and may lead to further detection, action, or investigation. If you are sick and need essential supplies, ask someone else to go to the supermarket or pharmacy to get what you need.
Delaware is considering fully recovered patients seven days after resolution of their symptoms and 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Three days after symptoms resolve, patients are no longer required to isolate themselves at home; however, they must continue to practice strict social distancing for the remaining four days before returning to their normal daily routine.
Additional demographics of COVID-19 cases and deaths, including race / ethnicity, more age-specific data, and rate information by zip code, can be found at the Division of Public Health Division’s My Healthy Community data portal.