COVID-19 Updates

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To keep the public informed, the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders are providing regular updates in government services and pertinent links regarding COVID-19. Coronavirus is a serious illness that spreads from person to person. Cape May County officials are working closely with the State and Federal Government to provide the latest information to help mitigate the spread of this virus.

Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton and Freeholder Jeffrey L. Pierson, who oversees the Cape May County Department of Health want to assure everyone that the County is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in Cape May County and throughout the region. Their foremost goal is to protect the well-being of our employees and families as well as our residents and visitors and continue to provide essential services to our County.

County government will continue to operate, and all government functions will be offered with some adjustments including limited hours of operation and reduced services. Communications remain open and the public is encouraged to call or email for needed services or information.

We are all working together to keep you informed and safe.

Gerald M. Thornton, Freeholder Director
Jeffrey L. Pierson, Freeholder, liaison, Health and Human Services.


Governor Philip D. Murphy 

Executive Orders Regarding COVID-19

Administrative Orders Regarding COVID-19


The Board of Chosen Freeholders have passed resolutions regarding COVID-19, click here to view the resolutions.



covid testing flyer


COVID-19 Update 10/18/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 6 new positive cases among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1474 including 93 deaths.  

10.18.20 covid graphs

 

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. In many areas, people can visit parks, trails, and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air, and stay active. While these facilities and areas can offer health benefits, it is important that you follow the steps below to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

When visiting parks, beaches, or recreational facilities open for public use, try to protect against exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by practicing social distancing and everyday steps such as washing hands often and covering coughs and sneezes.

At all parks and recreation areas

Follow these actions when visiting a park, beach, or recreational facility:

Visit parks that are close to your home

Traveling long distances to visit a park may contribute to the spread of COVID-19, as:

  • Travel may require you to stop along the way or be in close contact with others with whom you may not otherwise have contact.
  • Travel may also expose you to surfaces contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Check with the park or recreation area in advance to prepare safely

  • National, State, or local parks: the federal or State and local authorities will decide whether parks and other recreational facilities will open. Check with the park in advance to be sure you know which areas or services are open, such as visitors’ centers, bathroom facilities, and concessions, and bring what you need with you, such as hand sanitizer or other supplies to maintain proper hygiene.
  • Beaches or other swimming areas: State and local authorities will decide whether swim areas at oceans, lakes, and other natural bodies of water will be open. Please check with individual beaches for specific details, including whether the water is open for swimming.

Use social distancing and avoid crowded parks 

  • Stay at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with (“social distancing”) at all times. This might make some open areas, trails, and paths better to use than others. Do not go into a crowded area.
  • Avoid gathering with people you don’t live with.
  • Avoid crowded parks. Do not visit parks where you cannot stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask as feasible. Masks are most essential in times when social distancing is difficult, including when hiking on trails that may be popular or crowded.
  • Masks should not be placed on: 
    • Children under age 2
    • Anyone who has trouble breathing
    • Anyone who is unconscious, can’t move, or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
  • Masks should not be worn when engaging in activities where the mask might become wet, like when swimming.

Clean hands often

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Adults and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer: Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub hands together until dry, if soap and water are not readily available.

Stay home if you are sick

Do not visit parks if you are sick with, tested positive for COVID-19, or were recently (within 14 days) exposed to COVID-19.

  • If you are sick with or tested positive for COVID-19, were recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19, or just don’t feel well, do not visit public areas including parks or recreational facilities.
  • Follow recommended steps to take if you are sick.

At playgrounds

Playgrounds are often crowded and could make social distancing difficult

Follow the general principles listed above, plus the following….

Carefully consider use of playgrounds, and help children follow guidelines.

In communities where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19, playgrounds can be hard to keep safe because:

  • They are often crowded and could make social distancing difficult;
  • It can be difficult to keep surfaces clean and disinfected;
  • SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread when young children touch contaminated objects, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

 

 

If you choose to visit a playground:

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.
  • Wash handswith soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
    • Adults and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer: Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub hands together until dry, if soap and water are not readily available.

Camp and hike with people in your household

Follow the general principles listed above, plus the following….

  • Camp and hike with people in your household. Keep at least 6 feet awayfrom others at the campsite, on trails, and in other areas of the park. If you choose to camp or hike with people outside your household, consider the following: 
    • Camp in separate tents spaced out by at least 6 feet and avoid sharing camping supplies (including food and drinks).
    • There is no evidence that food or food packaging play a significant role in spreading the virus, but avoid sharing items such as serving utensils, multi-serving beverage containers, and condiment bottles with people outside your household.
  • Pack hand soap, hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) and supplies to clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces. Restroom facilities without running water, such as portable toilets and vault toilets, may not be stocked with hand hygiene products.
  • Continue good hand hygiene practices after touching surfaces such as doors and handles, including those within bathroom and showers rooms, as well as water fountains or spigots, laundry facilities, ice machines, trash and recycling cans and bins, payment stations, vending machines, and other camping amenities. 

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 10/17/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 7 new positive cases among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1468 including 93 deaths.  

10.17.20 covid graphs

Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.

Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Holiday Travel

Find out how to keep yourself and your family safer when you celebrate fall and winter holidays.

If you are planning to travel for an upcoming holiday, see CDC’s information about Holiday Celebrations.

Before You Travel

Before you travel, consider the following:

If You Travel

During your trip, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Traveling Abroad? Check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination before planning your trip.

Considerations for Types of Travel

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Your chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling also depend on whether you and those around you take steps to protect yourself and others, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet away from people outside your household (social distancing). Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to social distance. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19, the more likely you are to get infected.

Air travel

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharing can increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.

Bus or train travel

Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet of others, which may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. If you choose to travel by bus or train, learn what you can do to protect yourself on public transportation.

Car travel

Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces.

RV travel

You may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but RV travel usually means staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.

 


COVID-19 Update 10/16/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 5 new positive cases among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1461 including 93 deaths.  

 10.16.20 covid graphs

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 187, allowing the resumption of contact practices and competitions in indoor settings for organized sports defined as “medium risk” and “high risk” by the New Jersey Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities.”   The order encompasses sports including hockey, basketball, cheerleading, group dance, rugby, boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling.  Governor Murphy previously signed Executive Orders No. 149 and 168, which permitted the resumption of outdoor sports activities, “low risk” practices and competitions in indoor settings, and non-contact indoor practices for “medium risk” and “high risk” sports.

All indoor practices and competitions are limited to 25% of the capacity of the room, but not more than 25 or less than 10 persons.  However, if the number of individuals who are necessary for practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, exceeds 25, the practice or competition may proceed if no unnecessary individuals such as spectators are present.  Even if this exception applies, the number of individuals at the practice or competition cannot exceed 25% of the capacity of the room, and such limit cannot exceed 150 persons.

Facilities and participants must abide by a number of health and safety protocols outlined in the Department of Health’s “Guidance for Sports Activities,” such as screenings for athletes, coaches, and staff; limitations on equipment sharing; and requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces and equipment.

Additionally, sports under the oversight of either the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association or the NCAA must continue to abide by those associations' rules. All sporting activities must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Executive Orders.

 Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 10/15/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 12 new positive cases among County residents. Sadly, today we are announcing the passing of a 77-year old-male from Woodbine. “Words fail to express my sorrow for your loss,” said Cape May County Freeholder Jeff Pierson. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1456 including 93 deaths.  

10.15.20 covid graphs

When to Quarantine 

Stay home if you might have been exposed to COVID-19

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

Quarantine or isolation: What's the difference?

Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.

Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.

Who needs to quarantine?

People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.

What counts as close contact?

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Steps to take

Stay home and monitor your health

  • Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
  • If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 10/14/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 10 new positive cases among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1444 including 92 deaths.  

10.14.20 covid graphs

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Here is how you can do your part to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community

  • Get Tested – Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. You could have COVID-19 and not even know it. Protect yourself and save the lives of your loved ones by getting tested – especially if you have symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, are an essential worker, were recently in a large crowd where social distancing was hard to maintain, or recently travelled to an area or a state with high COVID-19 infection rates. Find a testing location near you at covid19.nj.gov/testing
  • Answer The Phone When A Contact Tracer Calls – You've been called because you either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has – so it's critical you answer the phone. Contact tracers are calling with life-saving information that will keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe and healthy. Learn how contact tracing saves lives at covid19.nj.gov/testandtrace
  • Wear a Mask - Always wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public spaces, and anywhere that you cannot keep 6 feet of distance from another person. Face coverings are requiredin indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Keep a Social Distance - Keep six feet between yourself and others whenever possible and avoid crowded areas.
  • Add Your Phone to the COVID Fight. Download the COVID Alert NJ App - The app is New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert NJ uses Bluetooth proximity technology, never records any identifying data, and all users will remain anonymous. Download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Know How COVID-19 Spreads

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Steps To Protect Yourself and Others

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Face coverings are requiredin indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Keep six feet between yourself and others whenever possible and avoid crowded areas.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touchingyour eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. For more, see the CDC's guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Visit the CDC site to learn more about how to protect yourself.

Safety Tips for Gatherings

During this difficult time, we understand everyone wants to spend time with family and friends. To ensure we don't inadvertently spread COVID-19 and needlessly put our loved ones at risk, the NJ Department of Health has offered some safety tips that can help reduce the risk of transmission when we gather in-person.

  • Remind invited guests to stay home if they have been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days, are showing COVID-19 symptoms, or recently travelled to an area or a state with high COVID-19 infection rates.
  • Ask guests to wear face coverings when they cannot social distance.
  • Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
  • Limit the number of people handling or serving food—for example, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
  • Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs. If you are called by a contact tracer, it's critical that you answer the call to protect us all. Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.

Managing Your Risk

The NJ Department of Health breaks down the spread of COVID-19 into four factors:

  1. TIME: How long will you be in a place? More time sitting in one place means higher risk.
  2. SPACE: How much space will be around you? Less space means higher risk.
  3. PEOPLE: How many people will be around you? More people means higher risk.
  4. PLACE: What type of place are you going to? Indoor spaces mean higher risk.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 10/13/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 3 new positive cases among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1434 including 92 deaths.  

10.13.20 covid graphs

Traditional Halloween celebrations often involve crowds, close contact between individuals, and activities in closed spaces. It is important to plan early and identify safer alternatives for celebrating the fall season .Outdoor activities, as opposed to indoor parties and events, are recommended. Those planning celebrations or participating in Halloween activities should keep in mind public health recommendations of social and physical distancing, wearing masks that cover the nose and mouth, and hand hygiene. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute for cloth or disposable masks. Individuals should minimize interaction and contact with others who are not a part of their household. 

As a reminder, no one should participate in these activities if they or a household member have a known exposure to COVID-19, are sick/symptomatic, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19and has not yet met the criteria for discontinuing  isolation. This year, as New Jersey continues to respond to ongoing transmission of COVID-19 in our communities, recommendations for adapting traditional celebrations and considerations for ways to celebrate Halloween safely are listed below. Some communities may choose to cancel Halloween activities, so check with local sources before making plans.


1. Outdoor Door to Door Trick or Treating  

a. Those who plan to trick-or-treat should limit their groups to current household members, consider staying local, and limit the number of houses on their route. Social distancing should be practiced between all who are not in the same household.

b. For those putting out treats:

i. Good option: Limit interaction or contact with trick-or-treaters, wear a mask when individuals come to the door, and regularly wash hands.

ii. Better option: Leave a treat bowl on a porch or table or in a place where it may be easily accessed while adhering to social distancing requirements.

 iii. Best option: Arrange individually packaged candy so that trick or treaters can grab and go without accessing a shared bowl. 

c. Consider coordinating with neighbors to develop a system, such as signs or on/off porch lights, for distinguishing houses participating in trick-or-treating from those that do not wish to participate. 

d. Wear a face mask to mitigate against COVID-19 exposure. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute but can be supplemented with a cloth or disposable mask. Children under two should not wear a cloth mask.

e. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable. Consider individual non-food “treats” to avoid sharing of food.

f. Practice hand hygiene (wash hands or use hand sanitizer) before leaving your home, after touching objects such as wrapped candy, and when arriving home.

2. Outdoor Trunk or Treating (when children go car to car instead of house to house)

a. Limit the number of participating cars to ensure adequate space for social distancing and minimize crowds. Ensure outdoor area has sufficient space per car to avoid overcrowding and to allow adequate space for social distancing.

b. Follow the outdoor gatherings limitations in effect at the time.

c. Design event in a long line, rather than a circle to ensure social and physical distancing to discourage crowding. 

d. Consider having assigned times or multiple shifts to minimize crowding during event.

e. Wear a face mask. Costume masks are not an acceptable substitute but can be supplemented with a cloth or disposable mask. Children under two should not wear a cloth mask.

f. Candy should be commercially packaged and non-perishable. 

g. Practice hand hygiene before the event, after touching objects such as wrapped candy, and after the event.

3. Halloween Parties 

a. Avoid large indoor or outdoor parties, which would be subject to the limitations currently in effect on indoor and outdoor gatherings. 

b. Keep up to date with the most current restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings.

c. Avoid participation in activities that require close contact and/or shared items such as bobbing for apples


4. Haunted houses, hayrides, and corn mazes

a. Wear a cloth or disposable mask while participating in these activities. As noted above, a costume mask does not suffice.

b. Indoor haunted houses should be avoided because of the possibility of congregation and screaming in close quarters. If hosting a haunted house, ensure visitors maintain an appropriate distance by staggering start times and limiting occupancy. A better option would be to host an outdoor haunted house without live performers.

 c. Hayrides should limit the number of passengers per ride and keep openings to the same party. Any shared materials should be cleaned and sanitized after each use.

d. Corn mazes should only permit individuals to proceed in one direction, should limit occupancy according to the applicable restrictions in effect at the time, and should avoid use of shared materials.

e. Entities hosting these events are encouraged to take reservations and/or sell tickets in advance. 


5. Examples of socially distant Halloween activities that would require minimal or no additional health and safety protocols include.

a. Virtual activities such as online costume parties. 

b. Drive through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area/neighborhood with Halloween displays. 

c. Carving pumpkins with family.

d. Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations. 

e. Halloween themed movie nights with family.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 10/12/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 4 new positive cases among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1431 including 92 deaths.  

10.12.20 covid graphs

Screening K-12 Students for Symptoms of COVID-19: Limitations and Considerations

The guidance detailed here is intended only for students in K-12 school settings. The number of reported children with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection who experience symptoms, the types of symptoms they experience, and the severity of those symptoms differs from adults. Additionally, the consequences of excluding students from essential educational and developmental experiences differ from excluding individuals from other settings. Therefore, the considerations described here are different than those for other settings and populations. 

We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and as more information becomes available, CDC will continue to update and share information. As our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 evolves, this guidance may change. However, based on the best available evidence at this time:

  • CDC does not currently recommend universal symptom screenings (screening all students grades K-12) be conducted by schools. 
  • Parents or caregivers should be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day.
  • Students who are sick should not attend school in-person. 

COVID-19 is a newly identified disease caused by the virus, SARS-CoV-2. Scientists are still learning about how it spreads, how it impacts children, and what role children may play in its spread. Limited data about COVID-19 in children suggest that children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and if they do contract COVID-19, they generally have less serious illness than adults. While uncommon, deaths and rare illness such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) may still occur.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms and children and youth with SARS-CoV-2 infection may experience any, all, or none of these symptoms. (See Symptoms of Coronavirus for more information).

Given the wide range of symptoms and the fact that some people with SARS-CoV-2 infection (the virus that causes COVID-19) are asymptomatic, there are limitations to symptom screening conducted by schools for the identification of COVID-19.

  • Students who are English Language Learners.
  • Ensure that students and staff are aware of the correct use of masks, including wearing masks over the nose and mouth and securely around the face.
  • Ensure that students, teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize their hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before putting on a mask.
  • Ensure that students, teachers, and staff are aware that they should not touch their masks while wearing them and, if they do, they should wash their hands before and after with soap and water or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
  • Ensure teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before and after helping a student put on or adjust a mask.
  • Ensure that all students and staff are aware that masks should not be worn if they are wet. A wet mask may make it difficult to breathe.
  • Ensure that all students and staff are aware that they should never share or swap masks.
  • Students’ masks should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ masks may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.
  • Masks should be stored in a space designated for each student that is separate from others when not being worn (e.g., in individually labeled containers or bags, personal lockers, or cubbies).
  • Masks should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.
  • Students and schools should consider having additional masks available for students, teachers, and staff in case a back-up mask is needed during the day and to facilitate every day washing of masks.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 10/11/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 4 new positive case among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1427 including 92 deaths.  

 10.11.20 covid graphs

Guidance for K-12 School Administrators on the Use of Masks in Schools

CDC suggests that all school reopening plans address adherence to behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19. When used consistently and correctly, along with important mitigation strategies, masks are important to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Other important mitigation strategies include social distancing, washing hands, and regular cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in schools and buses. CDC provides considerations for wearing masks and recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who live outside of their household. The use of masks is especially important when social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. Masks are an example of source control. Several studies1-13 have documented asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 transmission; meaning that people with COVID-19 who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can still transmit the virus to other people. Masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected. Masks are not personal protective equipment, such as surgical masks or respirators. 

The use of masks in educational settings may present challenges, particularly for younger students and students with special healthcare or educational needs. This document provides guidance to help school administrators decide how to best implement the wearing of masks ― in their school settings and facilities, including but not limited to buses and other shared transportation. 

Education and promotion of positive and supportive relationships should remain the primary focus of school administrators, teachers, and staff. This guidance provides K-12 school administrators with strategies to encourage students to wear masks, consistent with CDC guidance, while maintaining a positive learning environment. 

General Considerations

COVID-19 can be spread to others even if you do not feel sick. A mask helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. Appropriate and consistent use of masks is most important when students, teachers, and staff are indoors and when social distancing of at least 6 feet is difficult to implement or maintain.

Masks should not be placed on:

  • · Children younger than 2 years old.
  • · Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.
  • · Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Appropriate and consistent use of masks may be challenging for some students, teachers, and staff, including:

  • · Younger students, such as those in early elementary school.
  • · Students, teachers, and staff with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties.
  • · Students, teachers, and staff with special educational or healthcare needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.

While masks are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a mask may not be feasible. In these instances, parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, and school administrators should consider adaptations and alternatives whenever possible. They may need to consult with healthcare providers for advice about wearing masks.

Consider use of clear masks that cover the nose and wrap securely around the face by some teachers and staff. Clear masks should be determined not to cause any breathing difficulties or over heating for the wearer. Teachers and staff who may consider using clear masks include:

  • · Those who interact with students or staff who are deaf or hard of hearing, per the Individuals with Disabilities Education 
  • · Teachers of young students learning to read
  • · Teachers of students in English as a second language classes
  • · Teachers of students with disabilities

Clear masks are not face shields. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for masks because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness for source control.

Unintended Consequences

Practical Recommendations

  • · Include masks on school supply lists and provide masks as needed to students, teachers, staff, or visitors who do not have them available.
  • · Include clear masks on school supply lists for teachers and staff who regularly interact with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students learning to read, students with disabilities, and those who rely on lip reading as a part of learning, such as students who are English Language Learners.
  • · Ensure that students and staff are aware of the correct use of masks, including wearing masks over the nose and mouth and securely around the face.
  • · Ensure that students, teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize their hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before putting on a mask.
  • · Ensure that students, teachers, and staff are aware that they should not touch their masks while wearing them and, if they do, they should wash their hands before and after with soap and water or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
  • · Ensure teachers and staff are aware that they should wash or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol) before and after helping a student put on or adjust a mask.
  • · Ensure that all students and staff are aware that masks should not be worn if they are wet. A wet mask may make it difficult to breathe.
  • · Ensure that all students and staff are aware that they should never share or swap masks.
  • · Students’ masks should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ masks may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.
  • · Masks should be stored in a space designated for each student that is separate from others when not being worn (e.g., in individually labeled containers or bags, personal lockers, or cubbies).
  • · Masks should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.
  • · Students and schools should consider having additional masks available for students, teachers, and staff in case a back-up mask is needed during the day and to facilitate every day washing of masks.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.

 

COVID-19 Update 10/10/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 1 new positive case among County residents below and 1 new out of county positive case that is included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1423 including 92 deaths.

 10.10.20

Considerations for Events and Gatherings during a pandemic

As some communities in the United States begin to plan and hold events and gatherings, the CDC offers the following considerations for enhancing protection of individuals and communities and preventing spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Event planners and officials can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.

Guiding Principles

  • · A gathering refers to a planned or spontaneous event, indoors or outdoors, with a small number of people participating or a large number of people in attendance such as a community event or gathering, concert, festival, conference, parade, wedding, or sporting event.
  • · The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading.
  • · The higher the level of community transmission in the area that the gathering is being held, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading during a gathering.
  • · The size of an event or gathering should be determined based on state, local, territorial or tribal safety laws and regulations.

The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:

Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.

More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).

Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.

Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.

Targeting COVID-19’s spread

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth or eyes, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick, maintaining 6 feet of distance, and wearing a mask) and environmental prevention practices (such as cleaning and disinfection) are important ways to prevent the virus’s spread.

These prevention principles are covered in this document. They provide event planners and individuals with actions to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread during gatherings and events.

Promoting Healthy Behaviors that Reduce Spread

Event planners should consider implementing strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19 among staff and attendees.

  • · Staying Home when Appropriate  
  • · Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette  
    • o Require frequent employee handwashing (e.g., before, during, and after taking tickets; after touching garbage) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence.
    • o If soap and water are not readily available, employees can use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub their hands until dry.
    • o Encourage staff to cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • o Encourage attendees to wash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes.
    • o Attendees often exchange handshakes, fist bumps, and high-fives at meetings and sporting events. Display signs (physical and/or electronic) that discourage these actions during the event.
  • · Masks   
    • o Require the use of masks among staff. Masks are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult (e.g., when moving within a crowd or audience).
    • o Provide all staff with information on proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
    • o Advise staff that masks should notbe placed on: 
      •  Babies or children younger than 2 years old
      • Anyone who has trouble breathing
      • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
    • o Encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and use masks at the event.
    • o Masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Masks are not meant to be a substitute for personal protective equipment such as surgical masks, respirators, or other medical personal protective equipment.
    • o Masks are strongly encouraged in settings where individuals might raise their voice (e.g., shouting, chanting, singing).

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.

 

COVID-19 Update 10/9/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 1 new positive case among County residents. 

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1422 including 92 deaths.  

 10.8.20 covid graphs

Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Covid Spread

Retirement communities and independent living facilities can use several strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • · Staying Home or Self-Isolating when Appropriate 
    • o Educate residents, workers, volunteers, and visitors on when they should stay home or self-isolatein their living quarters. 
      • Actively encourage those who are sick to stay home or in their living quarters.
      •  Residents, workers, volunteers, and visitors should stay home when they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
      •  Those who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health.
      •  Develop flexible and non-punitive policies that encourage sick individuals to stay at home without fear of reprisals, and ensure workers are aware of these policies. Offer telework options, if feasible.
      •  Educate both facility-based workers (including ancillary staff such as dietary, recreational, and environmental services), consultant personnel (e.g., housekeeping, sitter, barber), and volunteers who provide care or services in the facility. Inclusion of consultants in all efforts is important, since they commonly provide care in multiple facilities and can be exposed to COVID-19 or serve as a source of transmission. Workers or volunteers who visit multiple locations should be encouraged to tell facilities if they have had exposure to other facilities with recognized COVID-19 cases.
      •  CDC’s criteria can help inform when workers should return to work:
      •  If they have been sick with COVID-19
      •  If they have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 
  • · Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 
    • o Recommend and reinforce handwashingwith soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
      •  If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol can be used.
    •  Reinforce handwashing in between interactions with residents as appropriate.
    •  Encourage covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • · Masks  
    •  Recommend and reinforce use of masks among residents, workers, volunteers, and visitors. Masks should be worn whenever feasible and are mostessential in times when social distancing is difficult, such as during personal care activities (e.g., cutting hair). Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the mask and to wash their hands Information should be provided to all residents, workers, volunteers and visitors on proper use, removal, and washing of masks
      •  Note: Masks should not be placed on:
      •  Babies and children younger than 2 years old
      •  Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
      •  Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance
      •  Masks should be worn correctly and washed before reuse.
      •  Residents with early dementia or other cognitive disabilities living in retirement communities or independent living facilities with a caregiver (e.g., spouse) may require assistance with wearing a mask or even be unable to comply with wearing one properly.
      •  Masks are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms.
      •  Masks are not personal protective equipment (PPE) and should NOT be worn by workers instead of a respirator or surgical mask if more than source control is required.
      •  Persons with symptoms of mental disorders, including anxiety, phobias, or panic attacks, might have trouble breathing using a mask, and this should be avoided. Efforts should be made to eliminate these types of adverse outcomes while still helping the individual utilize CDC recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies like wearing a mask if it is possible and can be done safely.
      •  A mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • · Social Distancing
  • · Encourage social distancing by asking workers, residents, volunteers, and visitors to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart both in common areas and individual residences.
  • · Adequate Supplies in Common Areas 
    • Support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, masks (as feasible), and no-touch/foot pedal trash cans.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


County Officials Remind Residents of Steps to Keep COVID Cases Down

As the weather is getting cooler and more people move indoors, the Cape May County Freeholders and Cape May County Health Department want to remind local residents to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against the spread of COVID-19. 

The Cape May County Freeholder Board is proud of the work done by residents and visitors during the summer months, keeping the overall daily case count low. The County has over 700,000 people during an average weekend in the summer. The hard work cannot end now, and it is important to be diligent in the time ahead to keep the pandemic under control.

“We have seen the number of cases rise recently across the Country and even here in New Jersey,” said Freeholder Jeff Pierson, liaison to the Health Department. “It is important to remember we are not out of the woods yet. We both want to thank our residents for the work they have done to this point and remind them that there is still much to be done in the months ahead.”

The only ways to keep the spread of COVID-19 down is to follow the protocols of keeping six feet of distance, wearing a face covering, proper sanitation of high touch surfaces, and frequent hand washing. Keeping case counts down has allowed the State to reopen and for Cape May County to have a summer tourist season. Continuing to follow with these steps keeps schools and businesses open.

“The only way to keep ourselves and other safe until we have a vaccine and necessary therapeutics is to mitigate the spread of this disease by following the recommended guidelines,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “I want to commend the work of our Cape May County Health Department and everyone who lives in Cape May County. We ask you continue the diligent work ahead.”

COVID-19 Update 10/8/20

The County of Cape May Department of Health is reporting 9 new positive cases among County residents below and 1 new out of county positive case that is included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.

Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1421 including 92 deaths.  

10.8.20 covid graphs

Social Distancing is Key to Staying Healthy

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household.

To practice social or physical distancing, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Social distancing should be practiced in combination with other everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Why practice social distancing?

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you are sick with COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from other people until it is safe to be around others.

COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Social distancing helps limit opportunities to come in contact with contaminated surfaces and infected people outside the home.

Although the risk of severe illness may be different for everyone, anyone can get and spread COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread and protecting themselves, their family, and their community. In addition to practicing everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread in communities.

Tips for Social Distancing

When going out in public, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from other people and wear a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Consider the following tips for practicing social distancing when you decide to go out.

  • Know Before You Go: Before going out, know and follow the guidance from local public health authorities where you live.
  • Prepare for Transportation: Consider social distancing options to travel safely when running errands or commuting to and from work, whether walking, bicycling, wheelchair rolling, or using public transit, rideshares, or taxis. When using public transit, try to keep at least 6 feet from other passengers or transit operators – for example, when you are waiting at a bus station or selecting seats on a bus or train. When using rideshares or taxis, avoid pooled rides where multiple passengers are picked up, and sit in the back seat in larger vehicles so you can remain at least 6 feet away from the driver
  • Limit Contact When Running Errands: Only visit stores selling household essentials in person when you absolutely need to, and stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not from your household while shopping and in lines. If possible, use drive-thru, curbside pick-up, or delivery services to limit face-to-face contact with others. Maintain physical distance between yourself and delivery service providers during exchanges and wear a mask.
  • Choose Safe Social Activities: It is possible to stay socially connected with friends and family who don’t live in your home by calling, using video chat, or staying connected through social media. If meeting others in person (e.g., at small outdoor gatherings, yard or driveway gathering with a small group of friends or family members), stay at least 6 feet from others who are not from your household. Follow these steps to stay safe if you will be participating in personal and social activities outside of your home.
  • Keep Distance at Events and Gatherings: It is safest to avoid crowded places and gatherings where it may be difficult to stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not from your household. If you are in a crowded space, try to keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others at all times, and wear a mask. Masks are especially important in times when physical distancing is difficult. Pay attention to any physical guides, such as tape markings on floors or signs on walls, directing attendees to remain at least 6 feet apart from each other in lines or at other times. Allow other people 6 feet of space when you pass by them in both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Stay Distanced While Being Active: Consider going for a walk, bike ride, or wheelchair roll in your neighborhood or in another safe location where you can maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and other pedestrians and cyclists. If you decide to visit a nearby park, trail, or recreational facility, first check for closures or restrictions. If open, consider how many other people might be there and choose a location where it will be possible to keep at least 6 feet of space between yourself and other people who are not from your household.

Many people have personal circumstances or situations that present challenges with practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please see the following guidance for additional recommendations and considerations:

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.


 Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolves. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, World Health Organization at www.who.int, New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net and also like us on Facebook.