Proactively Monitoring for Coronavirus

Proactively Monitoring for Coronavirus

Posted on March 11, 2020

 “Montgomery Township Health Department is working closely with Municipal and County Health Departments in the area to coordinate our response efforts.  Helpful resources are posted on our COVID19 page.  Below is from the Somerset County Health Dept.”

Message from the Montgomery Twp. Dept. of Health – 3/11/20

 

Somerset County Press Release dated 3/10/20 below:

Somerset County Continues to be on High Alert

COVID-19 Update – March 10

As of Tuesday, March 10, the New Jersey Department of Health is reporting fourteen “presumptive positive” cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) from the New Jersey State Laboratory and 1 positive test from a commercial laboratory in New Jersey. Presumptive cases are persons that tested positive at a state or local laboratory for the COVID-19 virus and are waiting for confirmatory testing by the CDC.  So far, no cases have been reported in Somerset County.

“Although there are currently no reports of coronavirus in Somerset County, we know that many residents are anxious about the possibility,” said Freeholder Director Shanel Y. Robinson. “I assure you that the county Department of Health is on high alert to promptly identify possible cases of the new coronavirus in Somerset County.

“To make sure we are communicating accurate and timely information, on March 9th, I began a daily conference call with our Mayors. Our Emergency Management Council met with local health officers and other emergency response personnel to coordinate a comprehensive plan that will maintain the safety of both residents and first responders.”

“Our Health Department continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Department of Health and local hospitals and healthcare partners to identify cases and prevent possible transmission of the virus, and to provide residents with regular updates and guidance,” said Freeholder Brian G. Gallagher, public health & safety liaison.

Anyone from the public needing information can contact the Somerset County Department of Health at coronavirus@co.somerset.nj.us.  Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Health has set up a 24/7 public hotline with the New Jersey Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Prevention

Because a COVID-19 outbreak could last for a long time, public health officials may recommend community actions to keep people healthy, reduce exposure to COVID-19 and slow the spread of the disease.

The actions can include maintaining or increasing the distance between people, promoting common-sense health habits and encouraging the proper cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces. These interventions are among the best ways to control a virus when vaccines are not available.

Additional daily health precautions that can prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other diseases:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
    • When soap and water are not available, the public should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Do not reuse tissues after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

To stay informed, follow trusted sources of information such as 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 www.nj.gov/health and the Somerset County Department of Health at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health.

As the lead agency for coordinating public health disease response, the SCDOH communicates with hospitals, laboratories, emergency responders, medical providers, schools, businesses and other community organizations to share information and improve response to public health emergencies.  Representatives of these organizations are encouraged to sign up for notifications, at: http://bit.ly/SCLINCS.

To stay up to date with Somerset County events and information, sign up for free email alerts at www.co.somerset.nj.us/subscribe or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Somerset County Press Release dated 3/04/20 below:

Somerset County Freeholder Director Shanel Y. Robinson wants to assure residents that their safety is a top priority for the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH).

“Our Health Department has the vast experience and skillsets required to monitor and identify all communicable diseases in the community – that’s what they do on a daily basis to keep Somerset County residents safe,” said Freeholder Director Robinson. “So, we don’t have to get ready to monitor the coronavirus – we stay ready!

I have called upon the Somerset County Emergency Management Council to expand participation as needed with individuals that have required areas of expertise.  The Council is comprised of all aspects of county government and partner agencies, including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital –Somerset, the United Way of Northern New Jersey, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Corporate partners.”

The SCDOH is the lead agency in Somerset County responsible for coordinating public health disease response in emergencies, working in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local hospitals, medical providers, emergency medical services and other local health partners.

“Somerset County is carefully monitoring the situation. Our Department of Health is enhancing our disease surveillance and proactively working with local healthcare providers to plan for any contingency,” said Freeholder Brian G. Gallagher, public health & safety liaison. “We will continue to update the public as information becomes available. In the interim, please visit the Department of Health’s website at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health to obtain accurate information about the coronavirus. Residents who have questions may email coronavirus@co.somerset.nj.us or call 908-231-7155.”

At this time, there are no reports of coronavirus in Somerset County.  However, to prepare and help reduce any impact this virus may have on our communities, the SCDOH is collaborating with its partner agencies to prepare the public health workforce to respond to any local cases that may occur, and for the possibility that this outbreak could become a pandemic.

The county Department of Health is actively:

Keeping health officials, emergency response teams and the public informed

The SCDOH continues to provide the best available scientific information, management practices, and federal and state guidance related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including links to essential resources, to officials, citizens, employees and partner organizations.  Municipalities are asked to share this with their communities and provide updates from the SCDOH on their websites.

Watching for and identifying disease in our communities

In response to the expanding global outbreak of COVID-19, the county’s public health response is aggressive and specific. The SCDOH is utilizing surveillance systems to track the movement of the virus and identify any case of COVID-19 that may arise in Somerset County. The SCDOH is ready to implement public health interventions to reduce the potential spread and impact.

The SCDOH plans to use isolation and quarantine measures to decrease the introduction and spread of the virus in our communities.

The CDC and the NJDOH have defined criteria for individuals with specific travel histories and have advised public health agencies of people in our communities who meet these travel criteria. These individuals will be contacted by the Department of Health’s professional staff to assess the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  The SCDOH will implement quarantine measures when individuals fit certain risk categories.

Planning for non-pharmaceutical interventions

Although there are currently no cases in New Jersey or Somerset County, the SCDOH has established guidelines to detect and investigate potential cases of COVID-19 in our communities. The county is simultaneously considering other protective measures, including non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI), that are appropriate for the current incidence of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions are actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, which people and communities can follow to help slow the spread of illnesses. These actions can include maintaining or increasing the distance between people, promoting common-sense health habits and encouraging the proper cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces. These measures are an important way to fight the spread of an outbreak and reduce its impact on communities as a whole.

Somerset County is also reviewing pandemic preparedness protocols and response plans in the event the COVID-19 reaches the level of a pandemic.

Coordination with health officials and emergency response teams

The county Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management are meeting with key partners to discuss how best to coordinate, support and enhance countywide and municipal preparedness and response efforts.

Public health officials are also working with local emergency management partners to support the implementation of public health response at the municipal level.

The SCDOH is coordinating conference calls and in-person meetings with public health partners to provide situational awareness, share relevant information, address concerns and modify our response to the event based on the evolving situation.

For more information, contact the Somerset County Department of Health at coronavirus@co.somerset.nj.us or 908-231-7155.

To stay up to date with Somerset County events and information, sign up for free email alerts at www.co.somerset.nj.us/subscribe or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Source: Somerset County Office of Public Information