To date, 7,572 residents have been sickened by the virus and 430 locals have died. ‘We have broken the curve, but we cannot rest on our laurels,’ says Camden County Freeholder-Director Lou Cappelli.
By Matt Skoufalos | June 23, 2020
The number of Camden County residents sickened by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to decline since the end of May, but county officials warn that a spike could be forthcoming as the state continues its reopening.
“We have broken the curve, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” Camden County Freeholder-Director Lou Cappelli said in a briefing Tuesday.
“We cannot let our guard down,” Cappelli said.
Locally, 7,572 residents have been infected by the virus, and new cases continue to grow at a 0.5-percent daily rate, Cappelli said. But Camden County Health Department Communicable Diseases Supervisor Caryelle Lasher said that rate could increase as the state enters Stage Two of its reopening.
“As we have more people out and in contact, there probably is going to be an increase in cases,” Lasher said, advising residents to adhere to hygiene practices, mask-wearing, and social distancing.
“That’s where the role of the public and private business come in,” she said. “Just because it’s open it may not be the right time for you to engage.”
Throughout New Jersey, 169,734 people have been sickened by COVID-19, and 12,949 have perished from causes related to the virus. In a statewide briefing Tuesday, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said officials have seen cases among those aged 18 to 29 double since April, and cautioned that young people could be spreading the virus throughout their communities asymptomatically.
The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing stood at 1.96 percent June 20; in South Jersey, it’s almost double, at 3.74 percent.
Although that number continues to decline, officials are tracking a steady climb in Rt, or the estimated rate of transmission of new cases of the virus, which was 0.81 percent on June 21.
That figure indicates that every person infected with COVID-19 is infecting less than one other person, on average.
However, it’s climbed continuously from a low of .62 recorded on June 9.
Long-term care (LTC) facilities account for almost half of all deaths in the state and one-fifth of those infected, and new cases are still being discovered there, as the county pilots a new statewide contact tracing and case investigation platform, Lasher said.
Furthermore, around 500 Camden County healthcare workers have been infected throughout the pandemic, “putting their own health on the line” to care for neighbors and their fellow residents, Cappelli said.
The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing stood at 2.42 percent June 18; in South Jersey, it’s more than double, at 5.37 percent. Spot positivity is a snapshot statistic, and the state’s report excludes serology tests, which can confirm the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, but not whether a patient actively has the virus.
15 new local infections announced June 23
According to the state health dashboard, on June 23, Camden County was seventh in new cases of COVID-19, with 19.
Of 7,572 reported local COVID-19 cases, 1,760 (23 percent) have originated in a Camden County LTC facility: 1,287 are residents and 473 are staff.
LTCs are believed to be associated with 67 percent, or 296 of the 430 total deaths in Camden County; 293 were residents and three were staff.
“Today we are averaging a quarter of the new cases each day that we were just five weeks ago,” Cappelli said in a statement.
“We have shown that you can beat this virus back if you take the necessary precautions and follow the guidelines of health experts,” he said.
“If we continue to wear masks and ease back into our normal routines, we will save lives and prevent transmission of this disease from becoming widespread once again,” Cappelli said.
The newest local cases are:
- a Berlin man in his 70s
- three Camden City men, two in their 20s and one in his 30s; and a woman in her 70s
- a Cherry Hill man in his 40s, and woman in her 80s
- a Gloucester Township man in his 50s
- a Lindenwold woman in her 40s
- a Pennsauken woman in her 20s, and man in his 40s
- two Waterford women, one each in her 30s and 60s; and a man in his 40s
- a Winslow man in his 40s
The Camden County and New Jersey Health Departments are working to facilitate trace investigations into all cases.
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