Gov. Carney declares State of Emergency over COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Gov. John Carney declared a State of Emergency after four people tested positive for the coronavirus.

The declaration goes into effect at 8 a.m., Friday, March 13, and directs the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services’ Division of Public Health to mobilize state agency resources to assist with Delaware’s response to the virus.

“We are taking this situation extremely seriously,” Carney said. “We have been expecting positive cases in Delaware, and for the last two months we have prepared our state’s response in close coordination with the experts at the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. Today’s emergency declaration will make sure we have the authority and resources necessary to effectively prevent the spread of this virus.”

The state of emergency requires the Delaware National Guard to assist with Delaware’s response to the coronavirus, and it advises against public gatherings of 100 people or more. The order also allows the state to conduct public meetings electronically, and it prohibits price gouging, or an excessive price increase of goods or services, during the coronavirus outbreak.

“There are things every Delawarean can do to stay healthy. Wash your hands. Cover your cough. Stay home from work or school if you are sick. It’s especially important for at-risk populations, specifically elderly Delawareans, to avoid large gatherings. And we’re advising Delaware organizations to cancel large, nonessential public events to prevent community spread of the coronavirus. We will continue to respond aggressively to this situation in close coordination with state and federal public health experts,” Carney said.

The State of Emergency does not require schools or businesses to close their facilities; implement any driving restrictions in Delaware; or close state office buildings.

On March 11, Carney and the Delaware Department of Human Resources issued guidance to state employees about coronavirus and potential impacts on the state workforce. Full-time and casual/seasonal state employees may be eligible for 14 or 30 days of paid emergency leave if they are forced to miss work due to a coronavirus impact, or to care for a family member. Costs related to diagnostic testing for COVID-19 will be waived for Delaware families who are covered by the state’s health plan.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or TTY at 1-800-232-5460 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email

 For the latest on Delaware’s response, visit

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