Health and Wellness

Cape May Officials Say Teens, Young Adults Not Social Distancing, Spreading COVID-19

CAPE MAY, NJ – New Jersey has 169,415 total COVID-19 positive cases and 12,895 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 714 including 61 deaths. In addition, over the past week, out of county cases not reported in the following spreadsheet are 29, or just over 4 cases per day. This will be added daily throughout the summer. As a comparison, 33 County residents tested positive over the last week, or roughly 4.7 individuals on average per day.

Although widespread testing is being done throughout New Jersey, new cases are popping up from people failing to social distance. The majority of cases testing positive in Cape May County last week 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.

Although Cape May County has one of the lowest numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in the State, it is important to remember that when summer populations swell, the chances of disease spread are much higher. Cape May County can see more than half million people on an average non-holiday summer weekend. Without protection, crowded settings and social gatherings are prime conditions for contracting the disease.

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“It is important for our business community and visitors to understand the importance of proper social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask,” said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. “These are going to be the keys for continuing the reopening and keeping people safe.”

Cape Regional Medical Center is reporting that many young people between the age of 17 and 32 are showing up at the urgent cares and the emergency room with symptoms of coronavirus.

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.

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As these numbers continue to grow among this age group it is obvious that social distancing measures are not being followed. 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 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%.

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While the Stage 2 reopening of business plans in New Jersey require the use of masks, gloves, sanitizer and social distancing elements to stay safe, it is socializing activities where precautions are sometimes neglected. As such, 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.

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.

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