Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced on Friday that the State of Delaware will partner with Nemours Children’s Health System, the Delaware Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other pediatric care providers in Delaware to make rapid COVID-19 tests available for Delaware children and adolescents statewide.
Delaware has received more than 77,500 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 point-of-care antigen cards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The state expects to receive a total of 290,000 tests, which can diagnose COVID-19 infection in as little as 15 minutes. The tests are largely being distributed to outpatient clinical settings providing care to children and adolescents, especially those currently in child care and in-person learning environments.
“Testing for COVID-19 is the best way to track the spread of this virus in our state and monitor for potential outbreaks,” said Governor Carney. “This partnership with pediatricians in Delaware, who provide health care for families statewide, will make testing even more accessible for Delawareans where and when they need it. Our goals are consistent. We want to get more children learning in classrooms, and more Delawareans back on the job. But we can only do that if we do it safely. Wear a mask in public settings. Don’t gather socially with anyone outside your household, and wash your hands frequently. This will be a difficult winter. Do your part to protect Delaware’s progress against COVID-19.”
DPH and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) have worked closely with schools and districts statewide to offer multiple testing options to meet the needs of students, teachers and staff, including:
- More than 60 school district testing sites since late August to assist with school reopening.
- Contracting with Mako Medical to work directly with school districts for testing options.
- Community testing sites through commercial pharmacies, State Service Centers and public health clinics.
- Routine at-home testing kits for teachers and staff.
DPH recommends teachers, staff and students get tested at least once per month as part of the state’s efforts to identify and decrease the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community. Delaware has added rapid point-of-care antigen tests to support its overall testing strategy and increase access to testing for K-12 students.
“We feel it is important to place these tests in medical settings where providers have the knowledge and experience to properly interpret the results,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH). “These tests offer yet another tool to help us quickly identify individuals who are at risk of carrying the virus that causes COVID-19, and immediately initiate critical contact tracing and case investigation efforts in order to reduce additional spread in the community.”
In partnership with Delaware Center for Health Innovation, the Delaware Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Medical Society of Delaware, DPH is working with licensed independent health care practitioners providing care to children and adolescents in childcare and K-12 populations to coordinate requests for testing supplies.
In addition, DPH has partnered with Nemours to distribute the rapid antigen tests to participating providers of Delaware Children’s Health Network (DCHN), a physician-led clinically integrated network of providers and health care systems focused on kids. DPH has already distributed 3,000 antigen tests through DCHN, which will offer central distribution to its providers.
“We appreciate the partnership with the Division of Public Health and the recognition that primary care medical homes need to have point of care COVID testing options to appropriately diagnose patients and do our part to reduce community spread,” said Jamie Clarke, Executive Director, Delaware Children’s Health Network and Chief Value Officer, Nemours Children’s Health System.
The federal government also has shipped more than 23,000 of the 290,000 rapid tests directly to congregate care settings such as Delaware nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The State of Delaware has a variety of testing options available for Delawareans:
- Nasal Swab Tests (front-of-the-nostril swab) – Available at select Walgreens and Public Health Clinic permanent testing sites. Additional health care provider testing sites may offer deep nasal swab testing.
- Curative Tests (saliva-based oral swab) – Available at pop-up school and community testing locations and select State Service Center permanent testing sites.
- At-home tests (saliva collection) – Available for Delawareans residents, especially for teachers, staff and students of Delaware schools, Delawareans over the age of 60, those in high-risk groups, and anyone who has been in a large gathering or had any higher risk contact, such as interacting with others without a face covering or appropriate social distancing.