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Stay-at-home order issued in Delaware starting Tuesday

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 17:47:54-04

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware Gov. John Carney on Sunday issued a stay-at-home order, closing non-essential businesses to attempt to blunt the intensity of the spread of the new coronavirus.

The order takes effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Carney said in a news release.

Delaware residents will be allowed to leave their homes to get groceries, pick up a prescription, see a doctor, and engage in other activities essential to their health or that of their family members, including pets.

Residents can also participate in outdoor activities, but must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Carney said in an online video that the new restrictions are needed to stem the rate of community spread and help hospitals handle an expected increase in patients.

Neighboring states have taken similar actions, Carney said, “and we don’t want Delaware to become a destination for residents of other states seeking a more permissive environment.”

Carney had issued earlier guidance to limit large groups, but he said not enough people were heeding those warnings.

“I understand that these restrictions will have real consequences for real people, but the consequences of not imposing these restrictions are way too serious,” Carney said.

Delaware health officials reported 55 positive COVID-19 cases as of late Sunday. Six individuals are hospitalized and three are critically ill, the Delaware Division of Public Health reported.