CAMDEN, NJ — The same day Gov. Phil Murphy warned that the state is close to taking action on COVID-19 restrictions given the surge, Camden County reported two benchmarks that signal a local spike as well.
Firstly, the county announced the most single-day cases Thursday, with 242 new positive screenings. While providing updates in a virtual briefing, Freeholder Jeff Nash also noted that the figures have hit their highest rolling day average ever countywide at 111 cases.
The week of Oct. 10, the county had 338 new cases.
“By comparison, we have already had 463 new cases in just the last four days… Last week we saw a total of 559 [new cases],” said Nash, who sat beside Congressman Donald Norcross and Communicable Disease Investigator, Rianna Deluca.
Because the pandemic is progressing in, what Nash called, a “very rapid pace” the Camden County Health Department has issued the following recommendations:
- Do not hold indoor gatherings (keep groups small on Thanksgiving)
- Everyone must wear a face mask (be cautious while eating/drinking)
- If you feel sick, stay home
- Minimize contact with anyone outside of your home
- Social distance (minimum of six feet)
- When a contact tracer calls you cooperate fully (if you’re unsure the person is calling is from health department you can verify by contacting 1-800-999-9045)
Deluca acknowledged the struggles faced by contact tracers, as some residents have not been fully transparent.
“It’s awkward, but we want to reiterate that nobody’s in trouble…there’s no stigma. It’s so much in the population it’s not a unique circumstance,” she said, hoping more residents provide the necessary background to health department workers.
So far, the county has totaled 13,334 cases and 581 deaths.
Camden City, the municipality with the highest case count, accounted for 82 of the new cases reported this afternoon (3,416 total).
“Experts have been warning for months that we were at risk of a fall resurgence of COVID-19, and it appears that we are now in the middle of that surge,” said Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli in a statement. “Our contact tracing team continues to report that indoor gatherings, among other factors, are driving the spike. We need to flatten this curve and get this virus under control. That can only happen if we all immediately alter our behavior so as to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.”
Nash said that while the county is experiencing an uptick in cases, many have not been sever despite an increase in hospitalizations in the South Jersey region.
Murphy reported 2,104 new cases across New Jersey, as well as 12 more deaths (totals of 247,219 cases, 14,603 confirmed deaths and 1,800 “probable” deaths).
“I hope it will be action that balances all the various challenges and interests that we have,” Murphy said. “We’re looking at a number of different steps that we’re going to need to take.”
For updates on upcoming county press conferences, click here.
Watch Thursday’s briefing here: