September 21, 2020 at 10:43 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Delaware again added to D.C. ‘high risk’ states list
Dover, Delaware, Legislative House, Gay News, Washington Blade
The Delaware Capitol Building in Dover, Del. (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

For the third time since July 27, the D.C. Department of Health on Monday placed Delaware on its list of “high risk” states from which D.C. residents and visitors are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return or arrival in the District if their travel is considered non-essential.

Delaware’s placement on D.C.’s high risk list for the coronavirus has had a direct impact on many D.C. residents, including LGBTQ residents who spend time in the popular Delaware resort city of Rehoboth Beach, a longtime LGBTQ tourist destination.

Based on an order issued in July by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, states are placed on the list if the seven-day moving average of daily new coronavirus cases is 10 or more per 100,000 people who live in the state. Travel to and from Maryland and Virginia is exempt from the order.

In its updated list released Monday, the D.C. DOH high risk list includes 31 states. A statement accompanying the list says Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, West Virginia, and Wyoming were added to the list this week. It says California, Hawaii and Ohio were removed from the most recent earlier list.

“Anyone coming into Washington, D.C., from a high-risk state (within the prior 14 days) who was traveling for non-essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their arrival in the District,” the statement says. Vacation and leisure-related travel is considered non-essential.

“Individuals traveling from high risk states after essential travel or arriving in the District for essential travel are required to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and, if they show signs or experience symptoms of COVID-19, they are to self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing,” the statement says.

The DOH has been updating its list every two weeks since the first version of the list was issued on July 27. Delaware was on the list at that time but was removed on Aug. 10. It was put back on the list on Aug. 24.

Three days later, on Aug. 27, the DOH issued a statement saying it had again removed Delaware from the high risk state list. It said the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services provided DOH officials with information showing that the DOH based its decision to return Delaware to the list on outdated data for the number of new coronavirus cases.

Jill Fredel, director of communications for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, told the Washington Blade on Monday she would check with the department’s Division of Public Health to determine if the D.C. assessment accurately reflects the state’s current number of new COVID-19 cases.

“We might be right around that threshold,” Fredel said. “It might be right around that mark so it might be legit,” she said.

Fredel noted that like D.C. and most other states, the number of new cases reported in Delaware changes from week to week.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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