When COVID-19 vaccine becomes available in about three weeks, Delaware health officials are ready to begin administering shots immediately. Because of anticipated limited availability early on, vaccines will be given to high-priority workers in the first two phases of a three-phase process.
At the top of the list are:
High-priority workers are those paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients and infectious material who are not able to work from home. Others include, healthcare workers, first responders and public and community healthcare workers. Public safety workers include police, fire and rescue, EMS, corrections officers and National Guard.
Essential workers as defined by the state of emergency including critical infrastructure workers, warehousing and shipping workers, food supply workers, utility workers, those in manufacturing, those who have face-to-face interactions with the public such as grocery store and bank employees and food service workers.
Most at-risk populations include the elderly, those with high-risk chronic diseases and those in congregate settings such as long-term care facilities, those in prisons and school and college students and staff.
During Phase 1, it's likely there will be a short supply of doses. In Phase 2, a larger number of doses will be available and it's likely supply will meet demand. In Phase 3, supplies will be sufficient as demand slows. During this phase, the general public can receive vaccine.
To see the state's plan, go to coronavirus.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/177/2020/11/COVID-19-Vaccination-Playbook-DE-V7-102620-102920_webready.pdf.
Carney tells schools to take a longer break
Gov. John Carney has recommended that schools offering in-person instruction take an extended winter break.
“There is not really a public health reason to close schools right now. And I believe strongly that students learn better in person,” Carney said. “However, we live in a complicated world and a complicated time, and it’s clear to me that there are operational needs that make considering a brief pause a good idea. Educators, school nurses and administrators need a chance to figure those challenges out and regroup. And the Division of Public Health can use this time to retool and streamline its school-related procedures.
“School personnel are not immune to the effects of rising community spread, and as more school personnel are forced to quarantine, it becomes increasingly difficult for schools to operate.”
Carney is recommending the following:
• Starting Monday, Dec. 14, schools should transition to all-remote learning leading up to the holiday break.
• Remote learning should continue after the break until Friday, Jan. 8.
• On Monday, Jan. 11, schools should return to in-person hybrid instruction.
• Sports practices may continue, provided social distancing and masking guidelines are followed, but no competitions will be permitted until Monday, Jan. 11, at the earliest.
• State health officials are implementing a household stay-at-home advisory from Monday, Dec. 14, until Monday, Jan. 11. Officials are asking residents to avoid gathering indoors with anyone outside their household.
• A universal indoor mask mandate is in place during the same time period.
Visits with Santa during the pandemic
Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus will be coming to town but it will be a different experience thanks to the healthcare concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the nation's foremost COVID-19 authority, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says Santa has “innate immunity” and will not spread the virus, normal Santa venues are not taking chances and figuring out ways to have safe, no-contact visits or providing virtual visits. Santa will be behind plexiglass in what some are calling “magic shields,” waving from his house with no interaction and more than likely wearing protective face coverings.
There are other ways to interact with Santa, including good old-fashioned letter writing. Lewes has a drop-off mailbox next to Santa's house on Second Street. You can call him at 951-262-3062 or 605-313-4000. Several websites offer interactions with Santa such as VisitWithSanta.com.
In the history repeats itself category, at the turn of the century, many children visited Santa at department stores. In December 1918, because of the Spanish Flu, no major department stores had a Santa on duty.
Grant a child's Christmas wish
The U.S. Postal Service's Operation Santa offers children a chance to mail their Christmas list and get it fulfilled in its adopt-a-letter program. To adopt a letter, go to USPSOperationSanta.com.
If parents want a response from Santa, they can include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a personalized letter they write to their child and signed From Santa. The return address is Santa Claus, North Pole.
Letters to Santa should be mailed to: Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888.
THE NUMBERS (Nov. 29)
35,251 positive cases in Delaware; 10,377 in Sussex County
Positive cases statewide are on the rise from 10,973 on Oct. 1 and 17,776 on Sept. 1
770 deaths statewide; 433 in long-term care facilities; 263 deaths in Sussex County
8,525 tests statewide
422,384 people have been tested statewide; 94,248 in Sussex County
Highest number of tests: 19958 and 19971 Zip codes
17.2 percent of those tested in Delaware were positive (14.6 recent average)
37 statewide hospital admissions; down from 49 on Nov. 18
13.4 million positive cases and 267,000 deaths in the U.S.
62.8 million cases and 1.46 million deaths worldwide