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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

DEMA Director Schall tests positive for COVID -19

State of Delaware

A key member of Delaware’s COVID-19 response team has tested positive for the virus.

Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director AJ Schall received a positive test result Friday. 

Schall was tested Wednesday after developing minor, cold-like symptoms following a negative test last Monday. He is isolating at home, but remains in contact with the Gov. John Carney’s office and DEMA leadership.

Schall, who leads the state’s testing program, was at Carney’s latest coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. But Carney, in a statement, says he is not considered a close contact by the Division of Public Health, based on mask-wearing and social distancing precautions.

Still, Carney says he is not taking any chances.

"Out of an abundance of caution, I am canceling public events this week and will exercise caution in any interactions with others, as always. We will hold our regular COVID-19 press briefing virtually this coming Tuesday," said Carney in his statement Saturday. "This only underscores the seriousness of this virus. It’s a real threat - especially for our most vulnerable friends, neighbors and loved ones."

State health officials report Delaware saw another 505 new COVID-19 cases Friday, and the state’s seven-day average of daily cases stands at 470.3. The seven-day average for postive tests is 5.9 percent.

202 people are currently hospitalized, with 29 people listed in critical condition.

Credit Delaware Dept. of Health and Social Service Facebook
Large crowds were seen at the Christiana Mall food court on Black Friday.

And the state Department of Health and Social Services announced Saturday morning that it is capping the number of people allowed to be seated in mall food courts at 100 after seeing pictures of crowds at the Christina Mall food court on Friday.

"Public Health inspectors were in potential areas of concern Friday, including the Christiana and Concord malls and the outlets at the beach," said  DHSS in a Facebook post. "The food courts at the malls are subject to the same 30 percent capacity limit to which restaurants are subject. While the Christiana Mall food court may have been technically under that limit, health officials are concerned about the volume of people they saw on Friday. In response, starting today, seating in the food courts will be capped at 100 people."

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.