Delaware Public Media

Gov. Carney addresses calls to reopen, testing data at end of week briefing

May 1, 2020

Gov. John Carney says he does not agree with a call from some GOP lawmakers and protest groups to reopen the state’s economy right away.

Groups of around 75 people gathered in front of the Carvel State Building in Wilmington and on the Legislative Green in Dover Friday to protest the shutdown.

And Delaware House Republicans sent a letter to Carney Thursday expressing support for his actions thus far during the coronavirus pandemic, but asking for Carney to open up Delaware’s economy, citing concerns from the state’s small businesses.

Carney responded to the letter Friday at a live-streamed state coronavirus briefing.

“[House Republicans] supported what we’ve been doing. They’ve been respectful. I thought their letter was respectful. I don’t agree with the final conclusion ‘let’s go now,’” said Carney.  

Carney went on to point out most House Republicans represent areas of Sussex County hardest hit by the virus. He says they’re sending the wrong signal to their constituents.

“Our success in preventing that spread will depend on everybody else outside of those communities, and those communities themselves, buying into the restrictions in place,” he said. 

Carney acknowledged the rallies as well saying he hears and understands the protesters concerns, and adds he feels its counter-productive to pick fights right now.    

Most other states have begun the reopening process, but Carney says they don’t have the conditions on the ground recommended by the CDC and the White House coronavirus task force to do so.

He reiterated the need for 14 days of declining coronavirus metrics in Delaware before he gives the go-ahead to begin the reopening process. But he also acknowledged the data related to the day to day number of confirmed cases in the state is a bit noisy.

“The up and down nature is a function of two things: It’s a function of the regularity or not by the [hospital] testing locations … and the time it takes for the labs to return those results, which has varied anywhere from five days to ten days to two weeks,” he said.       

The state has upped its testing in Sussex County in recent days after Carney declared it an official ‘hot spot.’ Officials say more than 1,100 were tested there this week including asymptomatic people.

Carney says the state is also keeping an eye on the number of hospitalizations as a more accurate metric for the severity of the outbreak. That number declined for a third straight day Friday, standing at 281– down 15 from the day before.