COVID-19 Updates

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-19 Update 7/12/20

New Jersey has 175,298 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,594 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 842 including 72 deaths. Additionally, there are 6 new out of county positive cases that are included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.

7.12.20 covid graphs

Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting your loved ones.

Contact tracers are calling with life-saving information that will keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe and healthy.

When a Cape May County contact tracer calls, it’s because you tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has – so it’s critical that you answer the phone.

How Contact Tracers Will Reach Out

Contact tracers will reach out via phone, text message, or letters dropped off at your door. Contact tracers will provide their name, agency, and a phone number.

If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of your conversation with a contact tracer, you may hang up and call your local health department. You should also feel free to request the name and ID of anyone who calls.

What a Contact Tracer Will NOT Ask

  • A contact tracer will never ask for your social security number
  • A contact tracer will never ask for confidential financial information like your bank or credit card number.
  • A contact tracer will never ask about your immigration status and ICE will not be notified about your location.
  • The information you share will not be used for the purposes of law enforcement or immigration enforcement in any way.
  • The information you share will not negatively affect your public charge assessment or be used to deny access to health care or any other essential service.
  • Your cell phone is never tracked, a GPS location is not followed, and geolocation data is not collected or used.

If someone is requesting personal information covered above, it is likely a scam. You can report these calls online to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs or by calling 973-504-6240.

What a Contact Tracer WILL Ask

To ensure you have the care you need and the support to keep you and your family safe, you may be asked:

  • To confirm your date of birth, address, or other basic information.
  • Discuss any symptoms you may have had, whether you were hospitalized, or any underlying health conditions that might put you at greater risk.
  • Details about your living situation so you can be informed on how to safely self-isolate or self-quarantine.
  • If you are uninsured, we can give you additional information about free testing and care.
  • You may also be asked about your job to determine if you are a health care worker or essential worker and therefore must comply with additional safety requirements.

If you tested positive for COVID-19:

  • A contact tracer will work with you to identify your close contacts - anyone who was within six feet of you for more than 10 minutes starting two days before you first had symptoms.
  • If you don’t have symptoms, we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis.
  • We will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you tell us about, so they can be called and cared for.

Your information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status – that information will only be known to public health officials and our local health departments.

We will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, and we will call your contacts to let them know they have been exposed and what steps they should take to protect themselves and their loved ones. But again, we will not tell them your name. If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the contact tracer will discuss any needs you may have and connect you with additional support should you need it.

 Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 7/11/20

Cape May Court House- New Jersey has 174,959 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,578 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 840 including 72 deaths. Additionally, there are 12 new out of county positive cases that are included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.

7.11.20 graph 1

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N.J. restaurants and bars that can open up 2 walls can reopen for indoor dining

Open-air restaurant will be able to resume a limited form of indoor dining, under an order Gov. Phil Murphy signed, as the state grapples with a rise in the spread of COVID-19.  

A restaurant that can open up two sides and have at least 50% of the wall space open, then food can be served with restrictions. The loosening of restrictions was possible because having half of a building’s wall space open allows for ample air flow.

Indoor dining at traditional four-walled bars and restaurants will remain closed until the virus case numbers decrease. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery are still allowed.

Open-air restaurant restrictions and policies are as follows:

  • Limit seating to a maximum of 8 customers per table - unless from an immediate family or the same household – and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties;
  • Encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic;
  • Cordon off any indoor or outdoor dance floors to the public;
  • Require customers to provide a phone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing;
  • Consider alternatives to paper/physical menus (whiteboards, electronic menus);
  • Provide a hand sanitizer station for customers; and
  • Require customers who wish to enter the indoor portion of the establishment to wear a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age;
  • Require that groups stay 6 feet apart, even in areas where groups are not assigned seating;
  • Prohibit smoking in any outdoor areas designated for consumption of food and/or beverages;
  • Adhere to all other health and safety protocols in DOH Executive Directive No. 20-019.


Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.

COVID-19 Update 7/10/20

New Jersey has 174,628 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,532 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 831 including 72 deaths. Sadly, we are announcing the passing of a 64-year-old male from Middle Township.  “I would like to offer the family and friends of the departed my deepest and most sincere condolences,” said Freeholder Jeff Pierson. Additionally, there are 6 new out of county positive cases that are included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.

7.10.20 graph1

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Gyms and fitness centers must keep their indoor spaces closed to the public, however they are permitted to offer individualized indoor instruction by appointment only to individuals and their families, caretakers, or romantic partners.

If multiple instructions are taking place at the same time in the same facility, they must take place in separate rooms or be separated by a floor-to-ceiling barrier that complies with all fire code requirements if they take place in the same room.

Gyms and fitness centers must institute the following policies:

  • Limit total capacity of any outdoor area to a number that ensures that all individuals can remain six feet apart
  • Close indoor spaces to the public, except when entering or exiting the establishment to access the outdoor area or to use the restroom
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings while in the indoor portion of the premises, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health
  • If a customer refuses to wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons, then the business must decline the individual entry into the indoor premises
  • Limit occupancy in restrooms that remain open to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing through signage and, where practicable, the utilization of attendants to monitor capacity
  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas
  • Limit the use of equipment rented or otherwise to one person at a time, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners, and sanitize such equipment before and after use
  • Require reservations, cancellations and prepayments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions

Guidance for Employees

Gyms and fitness centers must implement safety policies for employees that include, but are not limited to:

  • Require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 be sent home
  • Require all employees to wear face coverings while indoors, except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health
  • Require workers to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods
  • Provide all employees with face coverings and gloves free of charge
  • Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to staff

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 7/9/20

New Jersey has 174,240 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,501 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 821 including 71 deaths. Additionally, there are 16 out of county positive cases that are now reflected in the spreadsheet below.

7.9.20 covid graphs

Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions remain at increased risk for severe illness. As more information becomes available, it is clear that a substantial number of Americans are at increased risk of severe Covid-19 related illness – highlighting the importance of continuing to follow preventive measures.

“Understanding who is most at risk for severe illness helps people make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Kevin Thomas, Health Officer. “While we are all at risk for COVID-19, we need to be aware of who is susceptible to severe complications so that we take appropriate measures to protect their health.”

COVID-19 risk related to age

CDC has removed the specific age threshold from the older adult classification. CDC now warns that among adults, risk increases steadily as you age, and it’s not just those over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for severe illness.

Recent data has shown that the older people are, the higher their risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Age is an independent risk factor for severe illness, but risk in older adults is also in part related to the increased likelihood that older adults also have underlying medical conditions.

COVID-19 risk related to underlying medical conditions 

CDC also updated the list of underlying medical conditions that increase risk of severe illness after reviewing published reports, pre-print studies, and various other data sources. CDC experts then determined if there was clear, mixed, or limited evidence that the condition increased a person’s risk for severe illness, regardless of age.

There was consistent evidence (from multiple small studies or a strong association from a large study) that specific conditions increase a person’s risk of severe COVID-19 illness:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

These changes increase the number of people who fall into higher risk groups. An estimated 60 percent of American adults have at least one chronic medical condition. Obesity is one of the most common underlying conditions that increases one’s risk for severe illness – with about 40 percent of U.S. adults having obesity. The more underlying medical conditions people have, the higher their risk.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Faceboo


COVID-19 Update 7/8/20

New Jersey has 174,039 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,476 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 808 including 71 deaths. Additionally, there are 13 new out of county positive cases that are included in the Non-resident Active Cases listed below.

7.8.20 graph 1

7.8.20 graph 2

Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order today extending the existing indoor mask wearing rules to the wearing of face masks to outdoors.  Children under two and those where mask-wearing would inhibit health or safety are exempt. Face coverings aren’t required for people eating or drinking at an outdoor dining establishment.

"Requiring masks outdoors is a necessary step taken by the Governor to help protect the residents and visitors of Cape May County, said Cape May County Freeholder Jeff Pierson. “This inexpensive practice, in conjunction with social distancing is the most effective opportunity in stopping the COVID-19 spread.”

  • Wear a mask at indoor and outdoor settings
  • Avoid close contact with large crowds and people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people, at least 6 feet.
  • Stay Home if you have underlying health conditions.
  • Refrain from all indoor celebrations and parties

 

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 7/7/20

New Jersey has 173,878 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,425 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 800 including 71 deaths. Additionally, there are 8 out of county positive cases that are not reflected in the spreadsheet below. Sadly, today we are announcing the passing of a 79-year-old female from Ocean City and an 89-year-old female from Dennis Township. “My deepest sympathies go out to the families of the ones who passed,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton. “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”

7.7.20 graph 1

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Disability alone may not be related to higher risk for getting COVID-19 or having severe illness. Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. However, some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection or severe illness because of their underlying medical conditions. All people seem to be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if they have serious underlying chronic medical conditions like chronic lung disease, a serious heart condition, or a weakened immune system. Adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


Travel Advisory Should be Heeded by Cape May County Residents

Cape May County residents are being warned to be careful about certain travel destinations after the State has issued travel advisories for more than a dozen states. There are currently 16 states that New Jersey is advising people to quarantine for 14 days if traveling from those destinations. The advisory is the same for people traveling by car, plane, or bus.

The states on the list currently include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The list is updated weekly and will include states that have a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or have a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

“We want to warn our residents, particular our elderly residents, to be careful about travel to these impacted states,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “Not only are you expected to quarantine for two weeks, but we don’t want to see our higher risk population potentially expose themselves to this disease.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy noted during his press conference on Monday that several outbreaks in the State have been directly tracked back to travel to known COVID-19 hotspots. Cape May County’s year-round population of 65 years of age and older is roughly 25%. It has been shown that the virus is much more deadly when contracted by older individuals.

“Our New Jersey residents did a great job to get the COVID-19 outbreak under control in this State,” said Thornton. “We hope our residents continue to practice safety and consider whether travel is safe before going.


COVID-19 Update 7/6/20

Cape May Court House- New Jersey has 173,611 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,373 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 788 including 69 deaths. Additionally, there are 9 out of county positive cases that are not reflected in the spreadsheet below.

7.6.20 graph 1

7.6.20 graph 2

Visitors and residents in the areas of Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon and Wildwood should be aware that an increase in numbers of mostly out of state positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected over the past week. The age group is mainly between 15 and 25. Therefore, safety measures should be taken including adherence to social distancing and wearing a mask.

“The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by avoiding being exposed, which is why we are urging everyone to practice social distancing. We are doing our part in trying to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 cases, but we need our residents and visitors to take action and do their part as well, this is a team effort,” said Kevin Thomas, Cape May County Health Officer.

The virus is mainly spread from person-to person. COVID-19 can spread 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. It can spread between people who are in close contact with one another, within about 6 feet. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus and wear a mask. Since COVID-19 spreads easily from person-to-person it is important to do the following:

· Wear a mask

· Avoid close contact with large crowds and people who are sick.

· Put distance between yourself and other people, at least 6 feet.

· Stay Home if you have underlying health conditions.

· Refrain from all indoor celebrations and parties


Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 7/5/20

New Jersey has 173,402 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,355 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 779 including 69 deaths. Additionally, there are 20 out of county positive cases that are not reflected in the spreadsheet below.

7.5.20 graph 1

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As communities and businesses are opening, you may be looking for ways to resume some daily activities as safely as possible. While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a reminder, if you have 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. When you can leave home and be around others depends on different factors for different situations. Follow CDC’s recommendations for your circumstances.

In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. So, think about:

  • How many people will you interact with?

    • Interacting with more people raises your risk.
    • Being in a group with people who aren’t social distancing or wearing cloth face coverings increases your risk.
    • Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don’t live with you) also raises your risk.
    • Some people have the virus and don’t have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?

    • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
    • Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who have an increased risk for severe illness.
    • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation.
  • What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?

    • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
    • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.

 

What to consider before you go

Asking these questions can help determine your level of risk:

Will my activity put me in close contact with others?

Practice social distancing because COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with others.

  • It’s important that you and the people around you wear a cloth face covering when in public and particularly when it’s difficult to stay 6 feet away from others consistently.
  • Choose outdoor activities and places where it’s easy to stay 6 feet apart, like parks and open-air facilities.
  • Look for physical barriers, like Plexiglas screens or modified layouts that help you keep your distance from others.
  • Use visual reminders—like signs, chair arrangements, markings on the floor, or arrows—to help remind you to keep your distance from others.

Am I at risk for severe illness?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. While the risk for severe illness is lower for others, everyone faces some risk of illness. Some people have no symptoms, others have mild symptoms, and some get severely ill.

Do I live with someone who is at risk for severe illness?

If you live with older adults or someone with certain underlying medical conditions, then you and all family members should take extra precautions to minimize risk. Learn more about what you can do if you or any members of your family are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Do I practice everyday preventive actions?

Continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions, like monitoring yourself for symptoms, not touching your face with unwashed hands, washing your hands often, social distancing, disinfecting surfaces, wearing cloth face covers, and staying home if you are sick.

Will I have to share any items, equipment, or tools with other people?

Choose places where there is limited sharing of items and where any items that are shared are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses. You can also choose to visit places that share, post, or announce that they have increased cleaning and disinfection to protect others from COVID-19.

Will I need to take public transportation to get to the activity? 

Public transit can put you in close contact with others. When using public transportation, follow CDC’s guidance on how to protect yourself when using transportation

Does my activity require travel to another community?

Before considering trips outside your community, consult CDC’s travel considerations.

If I get sick with COVID-19, will I have to miss work or school? 

If you are sick with COVID-19, stay home. Also find out about your work or school’s telework or sick leave policy.

Do I know what to do if I get sick?

Know the steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick.

If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions. If you will be running an errand, follow CDC’s running errands considerations.

Items to have on hand

  • A cloth face covering
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


COVID-19 Update 7/4/20

Cape May Court House- New Jersey has 173,033 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,333 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 770 including 69 deaths. Additionally, there are 8 out of county positive cases that are not reflected in the spreadsheet below.

7.4.20 graph 1

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Bars and restaurants may currently open for drive-through, delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining.

What to Expect at Restaurants and Bars

Establishments must institute the following policies:

  • Limit seating to a maximum of 8 customers per table - unless from an immediate family or the same household – and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties;
  • Encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic;
  • Require customers to provide a phone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing;
  • Consider alternatives to paper/physical menus (whiteboards, electronic menus);
  • Provide a hand sanitizer station for customers; and
  • Require customers who wish to enter the indoor portion of the establishment to wear a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age;
  • Require that groups stay 6 feet apart, even in areas where groups are not assigned seating;
  • Prohibit smoking in any outdoor areas designated for consumption of food and/or beverages;

Guidance for Employees
Food or beverage establishments offering service must impose the following requirements on employees:

  • Require employees to wash and/or sanitize their hands when entering the food or beverage establishment;
  • Conduct daily health checks (e.g. temperature screening and/or symptom checking) of employees safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations;
  • Require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 be sent home;
  • Require all employees to wear face coverings, except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, or if it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task (i.e. cooks that work near open flames);
  • Provide all employees with face coverings and gloves free of charge;
  • Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday;
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to staff; and
  • Encourage employees to obtain COVID-19 testing.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net.


COVID-19 Update 7/3/20

New Jersey has 172,742 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,308 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 766 including 69 deaths. Additionally, there are 21 out of county positive cases that are not reflected in the spreadsheet below.

7.3.20 graph 1

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The majority of recent cases in Cape May County were individuals who are between the ages of 16 and 22-years-old who were socializing without regard to the threats of spreading coronavirus. Generally, they were short-term visitors with permanent residence from another county or state.

“We continue to call on businesses and individuals to practice proper social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask when in the public,” said Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “These steps are essential for keeping people healthy and for the continued reopening of our economy.”  

If I’m a customer, employee, or operator of a business, what social distancing guidelines should I follow?

Customers

  • If you are quarantined or in-home isolation do not leave your home.
  • If you must leave home to access essential goods, please go at non-peak times. Retail food stores have been encouraged to maintain separate operating hours for senior citizens and other high-risk populations.
  • You should wear a face covering whenever you leave your home and MUST wear one when shopping at essential retail businesses, entering a restaurant or bar to pick up takeout orders, or when traveling on public transportation.
  • Keep your visit as brief as possible and go alone if possible.
  • When shopping and standing in line, please keep six feet between yourself and other customers/staff.
  • Please do not enter a retail facility if you have symptoms consistent with COVID19 (such as fever or a cough), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are undergoing a quarantine for potential exposure to COVID-19.

Employees

  • If you have symptoms consistent with COVID19 (such as fever or a cough), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are undergoing a quarantine for potential exposure to COVID-19, do not report to work.
  • Must use a face covering. Your employer is required to provide materials for this purpose.
  • Under Executive Order 107, if your job can be performed from home, you should be performing it at home. Your employer should permit you to do so. If you believe your employer is violating Executive Order 107, please visit https://covid19.nj.gov/violation.
  • Keep six feet of distance from customers and co-workers in the store.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer frequently, and particularly after contact with shared public surfaces.

Requirements for All Businesses Operating
Owners of buildings used for commercial, industrial, or other enterprises, and of residential buildings with at least 50 units, must implement the following policies at minimum:

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines, particularly in spaces accessible to staff, customers, tenants, or other individuals, particularly following a known or potential exposure;
  • Maintain current cleaning procedures in all other areas of the facility;
  • Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of workers to perform the above protocols effectively.

Additional Requirements by Business Type

Additional Requirements for Bars and Restaurants
Restaurants, cafeterias, food courts, bars, etc. that are still permitted to operate must adopt the following policies:

  • Limit occupancy to 10% of stated maximum capacity;
  • Ensure 6 feet of distance between workers and customers except at the moment of payment or exchange of goods;
  • Arrange for contactless pay options, pickup, or delivery wherever possible;
  • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes to staff and customers;
  • Frequently sanitize high-touch areas like credit card machines, keypads, and counters;
  • Require infection control practices such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage;
  • Place conspicuous signage at entrances and throughout the food business alerting staff and customers to the required 6 feet of distance;
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings, and require workers to wear gloves. A business must provide, at its own expense, these face coverings and gloves for employees. Customers may be exempted if it would inhibit their health, or if under two years of age. If a customer refuses, they must be denied entry, but another method of pickup should be provided.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.

COVID-19 Update 7/2/20

Cape May Court House- New Jersey has 172,356 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,251 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 763 including 69 deaths. Additionally, there are 23 out of county positive cases that are not reflected in the spreadsheet below. Sadly, an 81-year-old male from Cape May City has passed from this disease. “My deepest condolences,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton. “Wishing the family peace and comfort during this hard time. “

7.2.20 graph 1

7.2.20 graph 2

Cape Regional Medical Center is reporting that most of the recent out of county positive COVID-19 cases have involved young people between the ages of 16 and 22. Over the past two days the Health Department has confirmed 8 positive cases yesterday and another 23 today within this same age group. Not one of these cases was in need of hospitalization.  

Although widespread testing is being done throughout New Jersey, these new cases are coming from people failing to social distance. The majority of new cases testing positive in Cape May County within the last few days were young adults who were socializing without regard to the threats of spreading coronavirus. Most of these people are short-term visitors with permanent residence from another county or state.

As a result, the Cape May County Health Department is launching a social media educational safety campaign targeting this age group with social distancing and masks wearing precautions.

Kevin Thomas, Cape May County Health Officer stated, “Although Cape May County’s year-round population COVID-19 cases are the lowest in the State, it is important to remember that while you may be on vacation, this disease is not. Without protection, crowded settings and social gatherings such as large house parties are prime conditions for contracting the disease.”

Freeholder Jeff Pierson said, “The key elements to reducing the spread of the coronavirus involve social distancing, proper hand hygiene and wearing face masks when you can’t social distance. Yet there are still irresponsible people who refuse to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Recent studies indicate that without a mask, social distancing or any other preventive measures, the risk of transmitting the coronavirus is 17.4%. Add a mask or respirator, and that number drops to 3.1%. With less than 3.28 feet (1 meter) of distance and no other protective measures, research found the risk of transmission was 12.8%. With more than 3.28 feet of distance, it’s 2.6%.

The Cape May County Freeholder Board, the Mayors of Cape May County, and the Board of Directors from the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce came out on Wednesday to urge everyone to wear a mask in public spaces to both keep people safe and the economy open.

“As the governor has said, there will be peaks and valleys as we move through this, but this demonstrates that our bar owners and younger people need to immediately take this situation much more seriously or risk new restrictions and shutdowns,” said Thornton.

The New Jersey State Health Department requires the local health departments to document positive cases to their permanent address. Therefore, out of county or out of state visitors who test positive are not counted in the overall numbers for Cape May County. As such, the Cape May County report will list out of county positives separately and will not be reflected in the New Jersey State numbers.

Additionally, Chief Paul S. Skill, President of the Cape May County Chiefs of Police Association, states, ”All restaurant, bar and business owners and our residents and visitors to do their part in making sure everyone complies with the COVID-19 restrictions.  Please follow all social distancing protocols and wear masks whenever possible so all that you bring home from your holiday celebration are fond memories.  The Chiefs of Police Association wishes all of you a safe, healthy and fun Fourth of July.” 

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.

Cape May County Zoo Takes Additional Safety Precautions

The Cape May County Zoo is taking additional steps to provide safety precautions for its visitors, staff, and animals. Capacity is going to be placed at 20% and all visitors over the age of 2-years-old are required to wear a mask, to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. These changes will go into effect beginning on Friday, July 3.

The new protocols will allow visitors who are in the Zoo a safer experience, while further promoting social distancing. The Cape May County Health Department has partnered with the Cape May County Zoo and had the Social Distancing Ambassadors make appearances at the Zoo to promote proper safety protocols and they will continue to make appearances there throughout the summer.

“As we have learned during this time period you can never be too careful,” said Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, liaison to the Cape May County Zoo. “As Cape May County reopens ‘Safely Together,’ we need to constantly look at our protocols and procedures and make changes that are deemed necessary.”

This decision follows a request from the Cape May County Freeholder Board, all Cape May County Mayors, and the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to request mask usage in public places. This request was made to both keep residents and visitors safe, and to ensure the economy can stay open.

“New Jersey’s overall case numbers have been on a downward trend,” said Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “We want to keep it that way and I applaud the Zoo staff for the hard work they have put in to ensure that our visitors remain safe, while visiting one of the best attractions in the United States.”

A one-way directional flow had already been set up throughout the Zoo to reduce the amount of interactions between guests where possible. Also, the Aviary and Reptile House continue to remain closed at this time.


COVID-19 Update 7/1/20

New Jersey has 171,928 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,224 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 761 including 68 deaths. In addition, out of county cases not reported in the following spreadsheets are 8.

7.1.20 graphs

As testing of individuals for COVID-19 continues, so does the need for contact tracers to conduct interviews with individuals who may have come into contact with those who tested positive.

The State Health Department, in partnership with Rutgers University, led by their School of Public Health and including the School of Health Professions, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, and Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, have launched the Community Contact Tracing Corps. The goal of the Community Contact Tracing Corps is to support Local Health Departments in meeting operational demands by providing additional contact tracing capacity on an as-needed basis.

In addition, in partnership with Dimagi Software Company, Rutgers University will deploy their open source CommCare platform across New Jersey to centralize the State’s contact tracing efforts. Collecting information in a uniform way makes it easier for health officials to share information and to track the virus across New Jersey.

Currently, the Cape May County Health Department is being trained in the CommCare contact tracing platform and will be supported by additional tracers from the Community Contact Tracing Corps. If you are Covid-19 positive you will be asked to share your close contacts. That information is used ONLY for the purpose of helping those people to get tested or to quarantine. Your information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status – that information will only be known to public health officials and our local health department partners, if needed.

Together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and safely restart our economy.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.

County Freeholders, Mayors, and Chamber Issue Urgent Request for Universal Mask-Wearing

CAPE MAY COUNTY, NJ – The Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Cape May County Chamber Board of Directors, and the Mayors of all sixteen Cape May County municipalities released this joint statement today as follows:

We join together to urgently request that all residents of and visitors to Cape May County wear face coverings in all public places, other than certain very limited exceptions. Thanks to the good sense, hard work, and sacrifices of members of our community, COVID-19 cases in Cape May County have remained below a critical threshold, however, we must take bold steps to ensure that cases continue to trend downward or, at minimum, remain steady even with the influx of seasonal residents and visitors expected during July and August. For the health of all and as an investment in the economic health of our community, we deeply appreciate and now depend upon the cooperation of business owners, staff members, and the public in this needed next step.

States and regions ahead of New Jersey in the business reopening process are experiencing surges of the coronavirus that are, in certain instances, exceeding the capacity of medical infrastructure. This has caused both pauses in business openings and the reclosing of businesses.  As a result, community leaders are focusing attention on and stepping up efforts to promote protocols such as mask-wearing in order to avoid similar outcomes.

“Cape May County is a safe place to live, work, and visit, and we must step up aggressively to meet the COVID threat in order to keep it that way,” stated Will Morey, Cape May County Freeholder and Co-Chair of the County’s Recovery Task Force. “We’re in a position right now to contain the mild outbreak of COVID that our County is experiencing. Engaging this clear and present threat will serve to protect public health and, for businesses, may literally save the summer,” Morey added.

An established and growing body of scientific studies support mask-wearing as an effective mitigation in the spread of COVID-19, and a consensus had rapidly developed on this matter in the wider medical community. States that have instituted a mask mandate have demonstrably slowed their COVID growth rate.

For specifics on face coverings that are in compliance with this request, please see the relevant CDC guidance.

The following are exceptions, where the mask-wearing request does not apply:

  • For those engaged in active outdoor recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running.
  • While on the beach, so long as strict social distancing is maintained.
  • When socially distanced and eating or drinking in public at a restaurant, bar, or other food or beverage establishment.
  • By those who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering.
  • By children aged 9 or younger.

Please note that the request for the wearing of face coverings INCLUDES the County’s Boardwalks.

“Wherever you are, we welcome you to come here and enjoy your summer in a responsible way,” said Freeholder Len Desiderio, who is the Mayor of Sea Isle City and Co-Chair of the County’s Recovery Task Force. “We’ve had good participation with directives so far, and this urgent mask-wearing request is an important way for us to be proactive and make sure our visitors will not make COVID a summer memory,” he added.

While united in issuing this urgent request for the wearing of face coverings, the group also recognizes the absolute necessity of observing adherence to capacity limitations imposed by State Executive Order, particularly for bars and restaurants.  All efforts will be made to encourage and compel owners, staff, and the public to operate and congregate within those limits.

“Businesses are really the front line of actively encouraging folks to follow protocols, wear masks and social distance,” commented Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber. “This urgent request will help businesses protect their employees and customers, as well as their own economic vitality throughout the summer season,” added Clark.

The County will continue to monitor health data and observations of activity in the area and update the public on mitigation measures as needed. To assist with positively and proactively requesting mask use, free graphics and marketing materials are available for public download at www.safelytogethercmc.com.


DRIVER’S LICENSES

All driver licenses, non-driver IDs, vehicle registrations, inspection stickers, and temporary tags expiring before May 31 have been extended to July 31. Documents expiring in June or July are extended by two months.

In addition, the federal REAL ID requirement has been extended for another year, until October 2021.

Most renewals of driver licenses, non-driver IDs, and registrations -- including some commercial registrations -- can be processed online at NJMVC.gov. Customers can change their address, pay fees, and access other services online as well.

NEW SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR MVC OPERATIONS

Going forward, everyone who enters the MVC agency will be required to wear a face covering. That includes customers as well as employees. If a customer cannot wear a face covering, MVC will make other arrangements for their transaction.

In order to limit crowds and speed services during the phased reopening, some agencies have been designated as Licensing Centers and some as Vehicle Centers. Lists of Licensing Centers and Vehicle Centers, as well as information on transactions, will be posted soon at NJMVC.gov.

Drop-off and pick-up transactions will be processed starting June 15, but only the following:

  • At designated Licensing Centers, MVC will be processing and validating permits from driving schools and high schools on a drop-off basis.
  • At designated Vehicle Centers, MVC will be processing registration and title work from dealers. License plates can also be surrendered by drop-off at these agencies in a designated area.


Summer Programs

Beginning July 6, youth day camps, including municipal summer programs, will be able to operate so long as they comply with required social distancing and other mitigation policies. Residential and overnight camps are prohibited from operating.

To help protect the health and safety of our children, camp workers, and communities against the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Health has released the following guidelines for youth summer camps:

  • Campers and staff must be screened for fever or signs of COVID-19 illness prior to being permitted to enter the facility or participating in camp programming. Persons that have a fever or other signs of illness should not be admitted to the camp.
  • Campers and staff members should be educated on steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Groups should include the same children each day with the same staff person, if possible. Mixing between groups should be restricted. Camps should avoid communal dining and stagger mealtimes to ensure social distancing of groups. Surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized between each meal service.
  • Staff are encouraged to wear cloth masks while working unless (1) doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, (2) the individual is in extreme heat outdoors, or (3) the individual is in water.
  • Cloth face coverings for staff and campers should be worn when social distancing of 6 feet between assigned groups cannot be maintained. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on children under age two because of the danger of suffocation.
  • All youth camps are prohibited from off-site activities, engaging in full-contact sports and providing resident or overnight camp activities.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizers stations should be provided in numerous areas around the camp.
  • Common surfaces and rooms should be cleaned at least daily including restrooms and countertops.
  • Gloves should be worn when handling or serving food to campers.
  • Social distancing is encouraged during bussing/transportation to and from camp. Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected between each use. Face coverings should be worn when social distancing can’t be maintained.


On Monday, June 22, personal care services will resume in New Jersey, including:

  • Beauty salons;
  • Barber shops;
  • Cosmetology shops
  • Spas, including day spas and medical spas – but not saunas, steam rooms, or shared bathing facilities;
  • Electrology facilities;
  • Hair braiding shops;
  • Massage parlors;
  • Nail salons;
  • Tanning salons; and
  • Tattoo parlors.

Businesses licensed by the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling and the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy must follow the comprehensive health and safety standards issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs, including:

  • Limiting services to appointment-only;
  • Performing prescreening and temperature checks of clients and staff prior to entering the facility;
  • Ensuring staff-client pairs remain at least six feet apart unless separated by physical barriers;
  • Requiring use of personal protective equipment, and requiring clients to wear face coverings at all times, regardless of the service they are receiving, unless face down on a massage table or where doing so would inhibit an individual’s health;
  • Adopting enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices; and
  • Staying informed about new developments and guidance related to COVID-19.

Tattoo parlors and tanning salons must follow health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health, including:

  • Requiring appointments;
  • Performing prescreening and temperature checks of clients and staff prior to entering the facility
  • Recommending clients wait in cars or away from facility if the waiting area cannot accommodate social distancing;
  • Requiring face coverings; and
  • Adopting appropriate infection control, disinfection, and sanitization practices.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.



COVID-19 Update - 6/18/20

Cape May Court House- New Jersey has 168,107 total COVID-19 positive cases and 12,800 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 694 including 61 deaths. Sadly, we are announcing the passing of a 79-year-old male from Middle Township.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends during this sad time,” said Cape May County Freeholder Jeff Pierson.

 

6.18.20 graph 1

6.18.20 graph 2

As of June 15, "essential" retail stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores and "non-essential retail stores" such as clothing retailers, shoe stores, and electronics shops are allowed to open, but must follow social distancing and other mitigation protocols.

Customers

  • If you are quarantined or in home isolation, do not leave your home. If you must leave home to access essential goods, please go at non-peak times. Retail food stores have been encouraged to maintain separate operating hours for senior citizens and other high-risk populations.
  • You should wear a face covering whenever you leave your home and MUST wear one when shopping at essential retail businesses, entering a restaurant or bar to pick up takeout orders, or when traveling on public transportation. Keep your visit as brief as possible, and go alone if possible.
  • When shopping and standing in line, please keep six feet between yourself and other customers/staff.
  • Please do not enter a retail facility if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever or a cough), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are undergoing a quarantine for potential exposure to COVID-19.

Employees

  • If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever or a cough), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are undergoing a quarantine for potential exposure to COVID-19, do not report to work.
  • Must use a face covering. Your employer is required to provide materials for this purpose.
  • Under Executive Order 107, if your job can be performed from home, you should be performing it at home. Your employer should permit you to do so. If you believe your employer is violating Executive Order 107, please visit https://covid19.nj.gov/violation.
  • Keep six feet of distance from customers and co-workers in the store.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer frequently, and particularly after contact with shared public surfaces.

Requirements for Retail Businesses

  • Immediately separate and send home workers who appear to have COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Promptly notify workers of any known exposure to COVID-19, subject to confidentiality requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
  • Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Continue to follow all guidelines and directives issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), the CDC, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for maintaining a clean, safe and healthy work environment.
  • Businesses must provide face coverings and gloves to all employees, and employees are required to wear face coverings and gloves while on the premises.
  • Limit occupancy to 50% of maximum store capacity at one time;
  • Establish hours of operation specifically for the exclusive use of high-risk individuals;
  • Install a physical barrier, such as a shield guard, between customers and cashiers/baggers where possible and anywhere you cannot maintain 6 feet of distance;
  • Require regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal;
  • Provide employees break time for regular hand washing;
  • Arrange for contactless pay options, pickup, or delivery of goods wherever possible;
  • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes to staff and customers;
  • Frequently sanitize high-touch areas like restrooms, credit card machines, keypads, counters and shopping carts;
  • Require infection control practices such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage;
  • Place conspicuous signage at entrances and throughout the store alerting staff and customers to the required 6 feet of distance;
  • Demarcate 6 feet of spacing in check-out lines to demonstrate appropriate social distancing;
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings, and require workers to wear gloves. A business must provide, at its own expense, these face coverings and gloves for employees. Customers may be exempted if it would inhibit their health, or if under two years of age. If a customer refuses, they must be denied entry, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case another method of pickup should be provided.



If you are Immunocompromised, Protect yourself from COVID-19

Many conditions and treatments can weaken a person’s immune system (making them “immunocompromised”). Some of these include:

  • Cancer
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Stem cells for cancer treatment
  • Genetic immune deficiencies
  • HIV
  • Use of oral or intravenous corticosteroids or other medicines called immunosuppressants that lower the body’s ability to fight some infections (e.g., mycophenolate, sirolimus, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, etanercept, rituximab)

Risk of Severe Illness from COVID- 19

People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of getting severely sick from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They may also remain infectious for a longer period of time than others with COVID-19, but we cannot confirm this until we learn more about this new virus.

Prevent COVID-19

If you are immunocompromised, the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to this virus. For details, see CDC’s advice for what you can do to prepare for COVID-19 and how to protect yourself and others.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid leaving home as much as possible and practice social distancing. 
    • If you must leave home, avoid other people as much as possible by practicing social distancing. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) between you and people outside your household.
    • Avoid large gatherings or places where people congregate.
    • Have supplies, food, and medicine delivered to your home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others to protect other people in case you are infected, and ask others to do the same. 
    • Remember, do NOT place cloth face coverings on children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Health

  • Continue your regular treatment plan. Don’t stop any medications or treatments without talking to your doctor. 
    • Discuss any concerns about your treatment with your doctor.
    • Keep your regularly scheduled medical appointments. 

      • Talk to your doctor about steps they are taking to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the office.
      • Use telehealth services whenever possible if recommended by your doctor.
    • Ensure that you are getting necessary tests prescribed by your doctor.
    • Seek urgent medical care if you are feeling unwell.
  • Talk to your doctor, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an emergency supply of prescription medications. Make sure you have at least 30 days of prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and supplies on hand in case you need or want to stay home for several weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to receive your medications by mail.
  • Take steps to care for your emotional health. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. It is natural to feel concerned or stressed about COVID-19. Learn more about stress and coping with anxiety here. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others: 

Treatment of COVID-19

  • At this time, there is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for COVID-19. There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Treatment is currently aimed at relieving symptoms, and for hospitalized patients, supporting vital organ function during severe illness.

Additional Information for Specific Conditions & Risk Factors

If you have cancer or have survived cancer

If you have cancer now or had cancer in the past, you might need to take special steps to protect your health:

  • Chemotherapy is an important tool to treat cancer. Although some types of chemotherapy can weaken the immune system, cancer patients and survivors should continue to take their chemotherapy as directed by their doctor.
  • Do not change your cancer treatment plan without discussing it with your doctor.
  • Watch out for fever. Take your temperature any time you feel warm, flushed, chilled, very fatigued, or not well. Call your doctor right away if you have a temperature of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher. 

    • Know the signs and symptoms of infection. Infection during the course of cancer treatment can be very serious. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of an infection.
  • Find out from your doctor when your white blood cell count is likely to the be the lowest, since this is when you’re most at risk for infection. 

    • If you have to go to the emergency room, tell the person checking you in that you are a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. Fever during chemotherapy treatment is a medical emergency and you should be seen quickly.
  • Discuss any concerns about your chemotherapy or other cancer treatments with your oncologist and primary healthcare provider.
  • Learn more about Types of Cancer, Risk Factors and Screening for Cancer and Preventing Infections while undergoing treatment for cancer.

If you have had a bone marrow transplant, solid organ transplant, or stem cells for cancer treatment

If you take medications that weaken your immune system, called immunosuppressant medications:

  • Do not change or stop taking medicines without talking to your doctor. Stopping or changing medicine can cause serious health problems.

If you were born with immune deficiencies

Some people are born with or develop immune deficiencies due to genetics. Examples include common variable immune deficiency, selective IgA deficiency, severe combined immunodeficiency, chronic granulomatous disease, and complement deficiencies.

  • If you take medicines to help boost your immune system, do not change or stop them without talking to your doctor.

If you have HIV

The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 for people with HIV is not yet known. If you have HIV and a low CD4 cell count or are not on HIV treatment, you might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

  • Do not change or stop taking medicines without talking to your doctor. Stopping or changing medicine can cause serious health problems.
  • For more details, see CDC’s Information about COVID for people with HIV.

If you are using oral or intravenous corticosteroids or other medicines that lower your immune system’s response

Some medical conditions are treated with medications that can weaken the immune system; these medicines are called immunosuppressants. Common medical conditions that are sometimes treated with immunosuppressants include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Do not change or stop taking medicines without talking to your doctor. Stopping or changing medicine can cause serious health problems.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


People with Moderate to Severe Asthma

This information is based on what we currently know about the spread and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19

People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.  COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.

Treatment

There is currently no specific treatment for or vaccine to prevent COVID-19.  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Prepare for COVID-19

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick.
  • Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid crowds and people who are sick.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
  • If someone in your home is sick, have them stay away from the rest of the household to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in your home.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items such as cups and towels.

Follow your Asthma Action Plan

  • Keep your asthma under control by following your asthma action plan.
  • Continue your current medications, including any inhalers with steroids in them (“steroids” is another word for corticosteroids).
  • Don’t stop any medications or change your asthma treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Discuss any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare provider.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of prescription medications, such as asthma inhalers. Make sure that you have 30 days of non-prescription medications and supplies on hand too in case you need to stay home for a long time.
  • Know how to use your inhaler.
  • Avoid your asthma triggers.
  • As more cases of COVID-19 are discovered and our communities take action to combat the spread of disease, it is natural for some people to feel concerned or stressed. 

Clean and disinfect things you or your family touch frequently

  • If possible, have someone who doesn’t have asthma do the cleaning and disinfecting. When they use cleaning and disinfecting products, have them: 
    • Make sure that people with asthma are not in the room.
    • Minimize use of disinfectants that can cause an asthma attack.
    • Open windows or doors and use a fan that blows air outdoors.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces like phones, remotes, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks daily.
    • Always follow the instructions on the product label.
    • Spray or pour spray products onto a cleaning cloth or paper towel instead of spraying the product directly onto the cleaning surface (if the product label allows).

If you have symptoms

Contact your health care provider to ask about your symptoms.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


CAPE MAY COUNTY REPORTS NO NEW CASES OF COVID-19, DETAILS RELEASED ON PERFORMED TESTS

Cape May County is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 today for the first time since April 5. While the numbers of COVID-19 continue to decline in the County, progress continues to be made in expanding testing options for the disease. Because of the actions taken by residents of social distancing, hand washing, and wearing a mask, the positivity rate has dropped as the amount of testing options increased. For the week between May 17 to May 23, it is calculated that the positivity rate in tests were 2.5%.

During this time, at least 2,174 tests were performed, or 310 per day. In total, 56 positive tests were returned during this stretch. The tests are sent to various labs across the Country to process. While all the positive tests are returned, it is unclear if all the negatives do and the number of tests run per day during that period could be higher as a result. This would only potentially decrease the positivity rate.

“Our Health Department has done amazing work with the health community and now private companies who are stepping up to providing COVID-19 testing,” said Freeholder Jeff Pierson, liaison to the Health Department. “We continue to see more testing options for residents and encourage anyone who thinks they might have symptoms to get tested.”

Testing locations for COVID-19 now include Cape Regional Urgent Care in Wildwood, Marmora, and Cape May Court House, Cape Regional Hospital, Complete Care Health Network, and CVS in Seaville. Proof of insurance is not needed at the Cape Regional Urgent Care locations. There is also other out of County testing options for people, like the State testing facilities. 

“People have taken great personal responsibility in keeping safe and we have seen the results,” said Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “As we continue to open up our State, we ask people to continue to be smart about keeping six feet distance or wearing a mask when proper social distancing can’t take place.”

Six Feet Saves Successfully Launched in Cape May County

“As Memorial Weekend is underway Cape May County Department of Health wants to stress, we are not out of the woodwork yet. We urge our residents and visitors to continue to take precaution against COVID-19 to protect themselves and others. When outside a mask is not mandatory, but is recommended, if you are unable to keep at least six feet from others,” said Kevin Thomas, Cape May County Health Officer.

Cape May County Department of Health is proud to announce their social distance campaign, Six Feet Saves has successfully launched on May 15, 2020 in Cape May. Since the launch, Cape May County’s Social Distance Ambassadors have been to Wildwood’s Boardwalk and Ocean City’s Boardwalk. Six Feet Saves is an education campaign that will be implemented to remind individuals to keep their distance to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Social Distance Ambassadors will be out in the community thanking individuals who continue taking preventive action against COVID-19, such as social distancing, wearing a cloth mask over their nose, and mouth if they cannot social distance, and washing their hands frequently. They will also be giving out education materials to individuals that are interested. 

Social Distancing Ambassadors will be wearing vests with the county seal on them, so they can be easily identified. The Six Feet Saves Social Distance Ambassador team will be made up of Medical Reserve Corp. members and Cape May County Department of Health staff. Medical Reserve Corp. is a volunteer program comprised of medical and non-medical individuals. To learn more about Medical Reserve Corp. and how you can volunteer you can visit cmchealth.net or call (609) 465-1187. 

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


Social Distancing Ambassador Program Future Dates 

The Social Distancing Ambassador program by the Cape May County Health Department has announced more dates after its initial positive test run. The program will continue in Stone Harbor on Friday and run until June 13th, with the possibility of more dates being added down the line. The Social Distancing Ambassadors includes two representatives from the Cape May County Health Department and volunteers from the Reserve Medical Corp of Cape May County who visit the different shore towns.

The program has been designed to provide positive reinforcement for people that are properly socially distancing or wearing masks. There is no enforcement element involved with this initiative. Information is also available for people wanting the latest COVID-19 safety information. Proper sanitation and hand hygiene are followed throughout the two hours while providing information to the public.

“This program has gotten a great reception and has gotten Cape May County a lot of positive attention,” said Freeholder Jeff Pierson, liaison to the Health Department. “Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton had a great idea that we were able to implement with Health Officer Kevin Thomas. The entire Health Department has been phenomenal through this entire pandemic.”

Below is the schedule of the dates, municipalities, and times the Social Distancing Ambassadors will be out throughout Cape May County:

May 22 – Stone Harbor – 10 A.M. until Noon

May 28 – Sea Isle City – 10 A.M. until Noon

May 29 – Avalon – 10 A.M. until Noon

May 29 – Cape May – 1 P.M. until 3 P.M.

May 30 – Stone Harbor – 10 A.M. until Noon

June 5 – Wildwood – 10 A.M. until Noon

June 5 – Avalon – 1 P.M. until 3 P.M.

June 6 – Ocean City – 10 A.M. until Noon

June 12 – Cape May – 10 A.M. until Noon

June 12 – Sea Isle City – 1 P.M. until 3 P.M.

June 13 – Wildwood – 10 A.M. until Noon

“I want to thank our staff with the Cape May County Health Department,” said Thornton. “We are blessed to have a tremendous staff working for the County during this very difficult time. Encouraging people to take proper safety precautions is one of the ways we will safely get our County reopen as we continue to work with the Governor’s office.”


Contact Tracing Information and Job Portal

Contact tracing, a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades, is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection.

In contact tracing, public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious. Public health staff then warn these exposed individuals (contacts) of their potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible.

Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill.

Contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance from others (at least 6 feet) until 14 days after their last exposure, in case they also become ill. They should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for cough or shortness of breath. To the extent possible, public health staff should check in with contacts to make sure they are self-monitoring and have not developed symptoms. Contacts who develop symptoms should promptly isolate themselves and notify public health staff. They should be promptly evaluated for infection and for the need for medical care.

Recently, Governor Murphy highlighted the state’s effort to build a contact-tracing corps that will supplement the roughly 800 staff and volunteers now doing this work on a local and county level. The governor said the state would tap public health students at Rutgers University and other colleges for assistance, plus contract with a staffing company to hire additional tracers. 

Murphy said contact tracers will be paid $25 an hour, and will either be employed by the state, Rutgers or the contractor, officials said. (Interested individuals can also sign up online.)

https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/tracer

The state will foot the bill for a new technology platform to provide training and data-collection functions for all contact tracers, regardless of where they are deployed, officials said. Their findings will be compiled in a central state database, although the privacy of those who test positive will be protected, according to DOH.

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit https://capemaycountynj.gov/ or Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.


Social Distance Ambassadors are Coming to your Community 

5/12/20- Cape May County Department of Health is proud to announce their social distance campaign, Six Feet Saves. Six Feet Saves is an educational campaign that will be implemented to remind individuals to keep their distance to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Social Distance Ambassadors will be monitoring high volume areas, such as boardwalks, to remind individuals to keep their six feet, and to give educational materials on how to prevent being exposed.

“As public places begin to reopen it is important to continue to take proper precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and social distancing. Cape May County Department of Health wants to remind residents and visitors to continue taking action to slow the spread of COVID-19. By protecting yourself and others you can help save lives,” said Kevin Thomas, Cape May County Health Officer.

Cape May County Department of Health’s education campaign Six Feet Saves, will launch on May 15, 2020 in Cape May. The campaign will be comprised of Social Distance Ambassadors who will remind individuals to keep their six feet and give out educational materials on how to prevent being exposed to COVID-19. Social Distancing Ambassadors will be wearing vests with the county seal on them so they can be easily identified.

Six Feet Saves Lives Social Distance Ambassador team will be made up of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) members and Cape May County Department of Health staff. MRC is a volunteer program made up of medical and non-medical individuals. To learn more about MRC and how you can volunteer visit cmchealth.net or call (609) 463-6692. Visit the following link to volunteer to be for the Social Distance Ambassador.

For additional information on what Cape May County is doing to slow the spread of COVID-19 visit www.cmchealth.net. You can also like Cape May County Department of Health on Facebook or call (609) 463-1187.


As Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Continue to Increase Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommends Wearing a Cloth Face Covering in Public Settings

4/18/20- “The number one prevention method against COVID-19 remains social distancing. Individuals should only leave their homes for essential travel. When essential travel is necessary to a public place that social distancing is difficult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, recommends the use of a cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19.” said Kevin Thomas, Cape May County Health Officer. 

CDC is recommending the use of cloth face masks to help individuals who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. The cloth mask should be used in public settings where social distancing can be difficult, for example grocery stores and pharmacies. Cloth face coverings can be made from common household items at low cost. The cloth face covering that are being recommended by the CDC are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, these supplies should be reserved for healthcare works and other medical first responders. 

Cloth Face Coverings Should: 

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. The face covering can be simple washed in the washing machine. When removing the cloth face covering it is important not to touch one’s eyes, nose, and mouth until they have washed their hands. 

Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying health conditions. 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, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at COVID19.nj.gov. For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net, also like us on Facebook.