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OCHD reminds young adults that social distancing and face masks are the law

while still the best protection against COVID-19

 

(Toms River) – The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is urging young adults and teenagers attending summer parties or large-group gatherings to keep in mind that while the cases of COVID-19 in Ocean County have been on a steady decline it’s not time to start getting complacent about following safety measures and protocols.

 

“We understand that it’s summertime and our young adults and teens want to get out and socialize or see friends and family before they go back to school but the OCHD is strongly urging they – and all Ocean County residents – adhere to the social distancing measures and wear a mask when in the appropriate situations,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “We’ve had a few recent incidents where large numbers of partygoers at our shore communities were not social distancing or wearing masks and that’s problematic when trying to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. We need to do better, we’ve come too far.”

Many of these young adults and teens feel they may be immune and it’s only seniors and other high risk individuals who are most vulnerable. However, recent data released by the OCHD paints a different picture.

  • It shows that from June 1 to July 31, 2020, there was a greater than 430% change in proportion of cases in people 18 years and under in Ocean County.
  • Cases were as low as 2.8% in that age bracket and rose to 15.19% from May 31 to July 29, 2020. Cases in adults aged 19-44 increased from 33.51% to 46.27% in the same time frame.
  • The good news is that the data revealed a decrease from 30.83% to 19.10% for adults between the age of 45 and 64. Seniors 65 and older dropped from 32.73% of all confirmed cases back on May 31 to 19.19% on July 27, 2020.
  • Morbidity and mortality have both dropped significantly over the last 2 months for ages 45-64 (25%) and 65+ (75%).
  • The median age of confirmed COVID-19 cases decreased from 54.8 years for the first 3 months of the pandemic to 34 years over the last 8 weeks.

“The data clearly shows that we have a segment of the population that isn’t trending the way it needs to be at this point,” added Patricia High, OCHD Assistant Public Health Coordinator. “This disease does not discriminate. Without a vaccine or cure, the only way to stop the transmission of the COVID-19 virus is by social distancing, wearing masks and contact tracing. We need to get the young people to understand this pandemic is not over and going to parties, large gatherings and even some bars is putting too many people at risk and not the responsible thing to do. Even if they don’t get sick there’s always the chance of a person bringing it home to their grandparents, other high risk individuals and the community.”

The OCHD would also like to remind these individuals that we need their assistance and cooperation should one of our contact tracers follow up with a call asking questions that can help provide valuable information in identifying potential cases that can lead to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. All calls and information are always confidential.

Regenye went on to stress that it’s important for partygoers to take these mandates and messages seriously. “We cannot have these types of parties and gatherings in Ocean County if we expect to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases. It’s that simple.”

For more information on COVID-19 transmission or contact tracing please visit our website at www.ochd.org.The OCHD is also providing a general COVID-19 Information Call Hot Line for residents and clinicians to answer questions regarding the coronavirus. The number is 732-341-9700 ext. 7411.

The NJDOH (NJPIES) hotline is available for questions around the clock at 1-800-222-1222 or by dialing 2-1-1.  Other related sources; for medical COVID-19 questions call 1-800-962-1253 (24/7) or Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.