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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.

Kent County residents question state about reopening

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State officials heard the thoughts of Kent County residents on the state's plan for gradual reopening Wednesday.  

The state’s first virtual recovery town hall for the general public focused on Kent County — which has by far the fewest confirmed cases of the virus so far. 

A single mom and independent contractor submitted a comment saying more people are affected by the restrictions on the economy than by the virus itself. She asked why the state cannot reopen sooner. 

The Division of Public Health’s Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong warned of opening too soon.

“Some folks are unfortunately impacted more by the economy than by the virus,” he said. “But we are also considering that if we reopen too prematurely and we’re not ready for that and the virus spreads, it’s going to impact our economy regardless. If we’re going to have to kind of go backwards and start over again I believe the overall economy is more negatively impacted by that.”

Division of Small Business Director Damian DeStefano added the state needs to make sure consumers feel confident going out again — and part of that involves tracking the right data.

Some people asked about reopening beaches, hotels, daycares and hair salons. 

One person asked whether the state could reopen town by town — since some seem to have the virus more under control than others. 

Hong said the concern is travel.

“It's very easy to jump from one town to another town or one county to another county,” he said. “And if we kind of recall how we ended up with COVID-19 in the United States, it was travel-related. So we do have some considerations, maybe we can open some parts of the state sooner rather than later, but I can’t say at this time whether we’re going to do that.”

Kent County is the least populous county in Delaware and has a higher per capita infection rate than New Castle County. 

 

Sussex County has been declared a “hot spot” for the virus in Delaware.

 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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