As Delaware advances to more than 100 positive novel coronavirus COVID-19 cases in the state, public health officials provided an update Wednesday morning for where things stand and recognized individuals might be finding themselves coping with the "new reality" in which they find themselves.
On the morning of March 25, 2020, Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Division of the Public Health, was joined by Dr. Lynn Morrison, President and CEO of Brandywine Counseling and Community Services to discuss the mental health impacts a pandemic is having on the quarantined populace.
There were 104 cases in Delaware at the end of Tuesday. 71 in New Castle County, 10 in Kent County, and 23 in Sussex County. Of those, 11 individuals are hospitalized, 5 critically. Patients range in age from 1 years old to 90 years old.
"Now have a large age range of individuals impacted," said Rattay. "A lot has changed...stay home as much as humanly possible."
As cases rise and the state deals with an influx of ill patients, she said its just as important to remember we can only diminish the impact of this virus if everyone is working together.
"It's challenging in a lot of ways, but it's important for people to be doing everything the can to stay away from other people and stay home when they're sick...if you have any sense of illness, don't leave your home, please don't leave your home, and please don't go to work and please don't go to the grocery store."
She recognized individuals being stuck at home could be causing strain for many, especially under the order to minimize human contact, but she said that's why staying connected is even more important today than ever before.
"So this is stressful, it's really stressful," she said. "People are worried about what's going to happen to them and their loved ones."
That's why she was joined by Morrrison, who said keeping track of one's mental health during this crisis is paramount.
"We're all adjusting to this new reality of living in a world with a...pandemic," Morrisons said. "We're adapting to the social isolation, social distancing...We're all doing that, and we have to remember we're doing a really good thing for the people we love, the community, and the world, really."
The situation is constantly evolving, and she said there are ways we can improve our overall mental health while playing a role in reducing COVID-19's spread:
- Stay as positive as you possibly can. "This is not forever, this will be different eventually."
- Understand the difference between social isolation and social distancing. Use digital means like "Skype, texting, emailing, Facebook, or Snapchat for the younger kids" to stay connected."
- Find small goals to accomplish. "Crossing something off a list makes us feel good." Be it finishing a new book, cleaning something out, or learning a new language.
- Start meditating. "An overall sense of well-being is really important." Just sit quietly, breathe deeply, and let yourself know everything is going to be okay. Encourage others to do the same.
- Plan fun. "Board games, recipes you've been meaning to try."
- Exercise. "One remedy that's tried and true." Get outside (while maintaining social distancing while you're doing it. do curls with gallons of milk inside. "It's time to get creative. Just get moving."
"Depression can sneak up on you. It's so important to stay connected," she said.
Those ho find themselves struggling should visit helpisherede.com for resources.
"It sounds a little cliche, but we are all in this together."