A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

March 24, 2020

Dear Resident and Business Owners:

I begin today’s update with some good information shared on our 10AM call with County officials. First, from the Office of Economic Development, the state of NJ has created a
 job resource page [4surefun.us16.list-manage.com] for unemployed workers to learn about employers that are hiring within their community. As of today, there are more than 8,000 available jobs for individuals that have been laid-off and this website will continue to be updated as more jobs become known and available. 
 
If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Gloucester County American Job Center at 856-384-3700.
 
DETAILED PROTOCOL FOR DEALING WITH COVID-19
An official from the Gloucester County Department of Health (DOH) gave a detailed account of the process and protocol of dealing with a confirmed case of the Coronavirus. She began by reiterating that the COVID-19 virus is spread (predominantly) in what is known as “droplet spreading” through sneezing, coughing or even speaking. These droplets are most easily “received” through “pink/moist” accepting membranes (typically mouth, nose or eyes). The susceptibility of picking up the virus from surfaces at this point is assumed, but not considered the predominant transference of the virus. This is why the 6-foot Rule and avoidance of any social gathering is so important.
 
I’ll say it again, during this crucial “stay at home” period, you must curtail your social interaction! No hanging out with neighbors or kids gathering inside or outside without adhering to the 6-foot Rule. The truth is, it’s probably easier to completely refrain from any interaction for this period. 

The DOH official described the various levels of sequestration we are hearing about. They are:

  • Self-Monitoring – For those who may have been exposed to someone with the virus. They should monitor themselves for the known symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath). If they develop symptoms while self-monitoring, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others and seek medical advice by phone.
  • Self-Quarantine – For those who were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 but you are not exhibiting any symptoms. If symptoms should develop, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others and seek medical advice by phone.
  • Self-Isolation – For those who have tested positive for COVID-19. You are a confirmed case, sick and exhibiting symptoms and under the care and guidance of a medical professional. You are isolated in your home.

The DOH official further explained how a case is developed. Once an individual reaches out to a medical professional (Primary Care Physician, Urgent Care, Hospital, etc.) and enters the Testing Protocol, everything in handled centrally at the DOH. They will contact the confirmed case directly and begin a thorough investigation to determine exactly when they first exhibited symptoms. They then go back three days from that point and walk through a comprehensive review of that timeline with the infected individual. They determine every place you were and every individual you came in contact with during that timeframe. They identify who on that list you came in “close contact” with. By definition, “close contact” is anyone closer than 6-feet for a 10-minute sustained period.
 
All “close contact” people are then called and advised that they have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. They are directed to Self-Quarantine for 14 days and to advise their Doctor, Employer and Insurance Carrier that they have been notified by the DOH to Self-Quarantine. They are also told not to panic and that their family members are not affected at that point. 
 
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: There has not been a confirmed instance where an asymptomatic person (no symptoms) has passed on the virus to someone who becomes symptomatic. Meaning, as of now (and that could change), you cannot just be a “carrier” of the virus without exhibiting some symptoms; keeping in mind those symptoms may be fairly mild and short-lived.
 
I believe all this information provided by the County was helpful and you will also find it valuable. The County call ended with confirmation that they are finalizing details for a Drive-thru Testing Center in Gloucester County. At this point, we are waiting for an ample supply of Test Kits, but there will be a local Drive-thru Testing Center here shortly.
 
I also want to clarify that Daycare Centers ARE exempt from the business closure order. They were not included in the original list of exempted businesses, but the Governor’s office confirmed to us that they are, in fact, exempt. Also, locally we have eliminated the deadline and associated late fees for Dog/Cat licenses in Harrison Township for 2020. 
 
Stay Safe. Social Distance. Harrison Strong.

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor

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A message from Mayor Manzo regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19. Learn more