WILMINGTON — The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) will be stepping up enforcement next month to make sure all businesses are complying with regulations put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Currently there have been 14,776 cases of COVID-19 in Delaware, including 66 new cases announced by the DPH on Tuesday. The DPH also announced one new death — a 40-year-old individual from New Castle with no underlying health conditions.
Delaware’s COVID-19-related death total increased to 580. There are currently 62 COVID-19-related hospitalizations, with 14 considered critical, the DPH said.
One number that continues to look good for Delaware is the percentage of positive tests — the seven-day rolling average is at 4.1%.
At his weekly COVID-19 press briefing on Tuesday. Gov. John Carney said he wants the state to do even better.
“This is a good place to be, but not where we want to be,” Gov. Carney said. “We’re in this middle ground between being really good and really bad.”
Gov. Carney said the goal is to get the state back to where its numbers were during the final weeks of May and early June, before Phase One of its reopening plan.
Gov. Carney added he wants to do that without going back to Phase One, saying that is why the DPH will first try targeted enforcement of current Phase Two regulations for businesses.
“We want to get back to there without going back in terms of closing down businesses,” Gov. Carney said. “So we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to be healthy and we want to be open. And that requires all of us to wear a mask. It’s a small sacrifice for the good of all of us.”
Jamie Mack, the DPH’s chief of Health Systems Protection, said the DPH received more than 1,000 COVID-19 business-related complaints in July and did more than 300 on-site compliant checks. Mr. Mack added that DPH investigators will be increasing their presence in August.
A compliance check includes a businesses meeting six different requirements — face coverings for customers and staff, social-distancing requirements, reservations or a system to prevent overcrowding, proper capacity requirements, hand-sanitizing stations and appropriate signage on counters/doors plus markings on floors.
Mr. Mack said more than 100 businesses passed their compliance checks with zero violations.
“We recognize a lot of businesses are doing the right things,” Mr. Mack said. “But we want to do a little bit better. Coming into August, we want to increase our enforcement presence, as well as maybe raise the bar a little bit.”
The public can report any businesses who are not complying with COVID-19 regulations by emailing HSPcontact@delaware.gov.
Actions against businesses not following their requirements include educational visits followed by fines, closures and reduced capacity for repeat offenders. Mr. Mack said significant issues can cause immediate action taken the same day.