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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.

Public health officials urge Delawareans who gathered on Thanksgiving to get tested

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Appointment-only coronavirus testing sites open at five additional Delaware Walgreens Tuesday.

It may be just in time, as the optimal window to be tested after a potential exposure on Thanksgiving begins. Public health officials say the best time to be tested is five to seven days after gathering with others.

“Getting tested after an exposure is not a black-and-white phenomenon,” said Dr. Rick Pescatore, chief physician and associate state medical director at the state Division of Public Health. “The farther out from your exposure that you’re tested, the more likely you are to have a true result—a true positive.”

Pescatore urges in particular those who took part in large gatherings, such as at the Christiana Mall on Black Friday, to get tested.

“If you found yourself in one of those situations, it’s understandable that you may be at higher risk for having contracted COVID-19,” Pescatore said. “If you were in a large gathering of people, either youramily members or people outside of your family, getting tested at one of our Walgreens, fixed infrastructure sites, or one of our Curative drive-throughs is something we highly recommend.”

The state Department of Health and Social Services announced this weekend it is capping the number of people allowed to be seated in mall food courts at 100, after seeing pictures of crowds at the Christiana Mall food court Friday.

A post by the Department of Health and Social Services Facebook page Saturday said that “while the Christiana Mall food court may have been technically under” the 30 percent capacity limit, health officials were concerned about the volume of people they saw there.

Demand for COVID testing in Delaware surged ahead of the holiday. Pescatore says more people were tested last week than in any other part of the pandemic.

Pescatore says testing demand remains high, and the state is working to accommodate it.

“I think that there’s always room to improve with testing,” he said. “More testing, more frequent testing and better turnaround times, are something that we strive for every single day."

Pescatore says the state plans to add more Walgreens testing sites as well as "pilots that put access to testing in the hands of primary care doctors" in coming weeks.

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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