Virus Outbreak Tracing

In this April 20, 2020 photo, Catherine Hopkins, Director of Community Outreach and School Health at St. Joseph's Hospital, right, performs a test on a patient in a COVID-19 triage tent at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. New York’s plan for taming the coronavirus hinges on taking a time-tested practice to an extraordinary level: hiring an “army” of people to try to trace everyone who might be infected. It's part of a common approach to controlling infectious diseases -- testing, tracing contacts and isolating those infected. But the scope is staggering even for a public health system that used the technique to combat AIDS and tuberculosis. 

The Division of Public Health updated its COVID-19 testing plan, building on groundwork laid out in May, to address issues of access, equity, and cost for all Delawareans, particularly vulnerable populations like elderly, low-income, and minority communities. 

According to officials, the focus is providing access to "safe and efficient" novel coronavirus testing. 

“One of the cornerstones of this update is to provide consistent, stable testing availability to residents regardless of symptoms or insurance,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The basis for our plan is to show that testing options for Delawareans have expanded greatly from when this pandemic first began, and that Delawareans have easy access to COVID-19 testing of their choice, when and where they need it. Testing, and knowing your COVID status, is a key mitigation strategy in battling this pandemic.”

The updated plan focuses on: 

  • Predictability: providing members of the community with easy access and consistent messages about where to get tested to help with early detection
  • Flexibility: the ability to be responsive to outbreaks and urgent needs
  • Sustainability: using resources wisely given the projected duration of this pandemic

There will be an increased role for none-traditional testing venues as access becomes more widely available for options like pharmacies, urgent care centers, and home testing kits. 

On the back of that announcement, the DPH also detailed a partnership with Walgreens, in which one location per county will be offering walk-up/drive-thru pharmacy testing between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, beginning Thursday, July 16, 2020. 

Those locations are: 

  • New Castle County: 700 S. Ridge Ave., Middletown, DE 19709
  • Kent County: 1215 S. State St., Dover, DE 19901
  • Sussex County: 9202 Commercial Centre Drive, Bridgeville, DE 19933

No appointment is necessary, though customers will receive tests in a first-come, first-served basis, so initially wait times may vary and traffic volume may be increased at testing sites. The tests will be available regardless os symptoms or insurance coverage. 

Testing will be conducted at an external location at each site, so those seeking COVID-19 testing should not enter the pharmacy.