REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (WJZ) –– Delaware Health officials are asking anyone who recently visited Rehoboth or Dewey beaches, or who live there, to get a coronavirus test after more than 100 people were exposed to the virus in the area.
The Delaware Division of Public Health reported that after conducting coronavirus tests in the area, 100 people in Rehoboth and over a dozen people in Dewey tested positive for the virus.
According to Delaware health officials, at least three out of a dozen teens who were staying together in a Senior Week rental unit in Dewey Beach tested positive for coronavirus. The teens attended several crowded gatherings in Rehoboth, potentially exposing at least 100 people to the virus.
The city later wrote on Facebook that three lifeguards in Rehoboth Beach also tested positive for COVID-19.
“We believe at this time there was very little contact with the public,” Rehoboth Police Chief Keith Banks said in the post.
The lifeguards will be tested in the next 24 hours and won’t return to work until they’re medically cleared to do so.
DPH is making contact with people who may have been exposed to the virus.
“It is important for teens participating in senior week activities to consider themselves at-risk, and get tested for, COVID-19. The risk of COVID-19 spread among other young people, of different households, living in group settings without social distancing or wearing face coverings is real, and we will have no way of tracing all of the individuals they may have exposed because they likely don’t know everyone’s names,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Just because we are reopening, does not mean the virus is gone. It does not mean the risk is gone. It does not mean things are back to normal.”
Families whose children participated in senior week activities at the beach, and are planning graduation parties, should consider rescheduling them for 14 days after they left. If they hold them, they should consider their children at-risk for the virus and limit the teens’ exposure to vulnerable family and friends such as grandparents or family members with chronic health conditions.
“We are extremely concerned by yet another cluster of COVID-19 cases in the beach area and the potential for spread to others both at work and in social gatherings,” said Rattay. “We know that some of the positive persons have been at parties recently, potentially transmitting the virus to others who may still be here or may have returned to their homes in other counties or states.”
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“We are also concerned by our own staff observations in the beach area and pictures seen on social media of people not wearing face coverings or social distancing while they are out and about, including at bars and restaurants,” Rattay continued. “Make no mistake, continuing this behavior is a recipe for disaster. It is a sure way for us to end up with widespread infection that ultimately may not be contained to the beach area.”
Testing is highly encouraged for:
- those living in the beach area with people who are not part of your family;
- those attending parties, or restaurants/bars in the last two weeks where you were not wearing a face covering or social distancing;
- people working in the restaurant, hotel or retail industry who have frequent contact with other people.
If you’re down at the beach, here’s where you can get tested:
- A community-based testing event has been scheduled for Monday June 29, 2020, at the Starboard restaurant in Dewey beach from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pre-registration for this site is full, though a limited number of walk up spots are available.
- A second community testing event is scheduled for Thursday, July 2, 2020, at the Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
- Beebe Healthcare is also partnering with the Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) to offer testing on Monday and Tuesday to staff of any food establishment in or near the beach area. Testing is scheduled for Monday, June 29, 2020, from noon to 2 p.m. at Big Fish Grill, 20298 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach. Testing will also be held on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Touch of Italy in Rehoboth Beach at 19724 Coastal Hwy. No pre-registration is required. Anyone with questions can call 302-738-2545.
- Additional community testing sites in the beach area are likely to be scheduled in the next week or so. Registration is open at http://delaware.curativeinc.com.
Otherwise you can get tested at one of the free testing locations in Maryland.
Click here for more information on these COVID-19 cases in Delaware.