October 23, 2020
November 6, 2020


Cooler weather and the holidays will bring people closer together indoors

(Toms River) – As we continue to inch closer to finding a COVID-19 vaccine it’s still way too early to let our guard down and allow another significant spike in cases. Many states and regions are currently experiencing an upsurge of new COVID-19 cases leaving the public health community needing to remind people that the pandemic isn’t over because of all the recent news about potential vaccine availability.

“We have to be very careful of a late-stage increase in cases despite the news of a pending a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “You’ve heard the public health community say this a lot recently but everyone has got to stay the course and continue to adhere to all the safety precautions especially as people head indoors with the cooler weather and the holiday season fast approaching.”

Ocean County is currently working its way out of a recent surge and is starting to trend back down. From October 14 to October 28, Ocean County averaged 64 new daily cases with the exception of one day back on October 18. Meanwhile, much of New Jersey is experiencing an uptick with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) reporting more than 2,600 cases on October 28, 2020.

“Ocean County has experienced a couple of positive weeks as far as cases,” explained Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “I think people in Ocean County realized we needed to be more vigilant with safety measures and we’ve had more people getting tested. The Ocean County COVID-19 Drive-Thru Test site at Ocean County College has tested 10,877 residents so far in 31 weeks. The goal is to keep the downward trend going as we shift back indoors and people come together for holiday parties, shopping, religious services and other gatherings.”

It will certainly be a holiday season unlike any other most have experienced. Questions such as should people travel out of state or be exposed to busy airports during the holidays to visit with friends and family? How can we protect loved ones who are older or at high risk? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that people should seriously consider staying home for the holidays but if you must travel, to be aware of the risks involved.

The CDC provides some of the following low-risk tips to follow this holiday season:

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Shopping online rather than in person.
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people you don’t live with. Be particularly mindful in areas where it may be harder to keep this distance, such as restrooms and eating areas.
  • Avoid using restroom facilities at high traffic times, such as at the end of a public event.
  • Avoid busy eating areas, such as restaurants during high volume mealtimes, if you plan to eat out at a restaurant.
  • Minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, do not shake hands, bump elbows, or give hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet others

“Everybody has to make their own choice but we ask people to think about their health and the health of others during this festive time of year,” Regenye added. “If you haven’t received a flu shot yet, then now is the time. It won’t keep you from getting the coronavirus but it will help alleviate the burden on our health care system by reducing the number of people getting sick from influenza.”

For more information regarding OCHD Flu Clinics please visit 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  or Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.