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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.

Gov. Carney explains stay-at-home advisory: 'we’re asking people to be very, very careful'

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Sophia Schmidt
/
Delaware Public Media

The stay-at-home advisory Gov. John Carney announced Thursday is voluntary. But he is not ruling out more “dramatic” measures to control the coronavirus. 

California announced regional stay-at-home orders that will kick in when ICU capacity dips below 15 percent. That’s expected to happen this week.

Delaware is seeing record cases of the virus and rising hospitalizations, but Gov. Carney stopped short of a stay-at-home order Thursday, opting instead for an unenforceable “advisory” from Dec. 14 to Jan. 11. 

He says that’s to strike a balance between public health and the economy—since the state can’t support closed businesses as much as it did this spring.

“We just don’t have the luxury this time—not that we did in the spring—but we don't have the resources to help support businesses,” Carney said in an interview Friday. “So we’re asking people to be very, very careful, stay home, limit their exposure to those in other households.”

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Gov. Carney on whether he expects Delawareans to heed the stay-at-home advisory

But harsher restrictions are still on the table.

“Other states are seeing the inability for hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients,” Carney said. “We don’t want to be put in that position. If we are, then we’ll have to do something a little bit more dramatic.”

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Gov. Carney on what the stay-at-home advisory means for holiday religious services

The state is also instituting a universal mask mandate during the time period for Delawareans who are around people outside their immediate household in any indoor space. A public mask mandate has been in place in Delaware since late April.

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Gov. Carney on enforcement of the new universal mask mandate

Several school districts are backing away from in-person learning as the coronavirus reaches new levels in Delaware.

The state recommended  Thursday that schools “pause” in-person learning for several weeks starting Dec. 14.

Carney says he was “very surprised” to see districts deciding to go remote before then.

“It is a little bit of a reset to use the Christmas holiday season to reset, re-energize the teachers and staff, refocus on how to keep all of the above safe in the school environment,” he said.

“But they are safe,” he added.

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Gov. Carney on the response of some school districts to his guidance Thursday

Public health officials plan to use the hybrid learning pause to come up with more specific data guidelines for decision making through the spring.

This story has been updated.

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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