OCHD Reports First Ocean County Resident Tested For Coronavirus Is Negative

The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is reporting today that the first individual tested for the COV-19 in the county has tested negative. The individual is a woman in her sixties and lives in Berkeley Township. She was admitted to Community Medical Center for observation where she has since been released in stable condition.

“The Ocean County Health Department is very pleased that this case turned out negative. However, it was a good opportunity to test our collective agency response and I was overall pleased with the open lines of communication,” advises Daniel Regenye OCHD Public Health Coordinator. “Despite the good news in this instance, we will continue preparing for the eventuality of the virus making it here and continue to fine-tune the appropriate readiness plans when that time does come.”

“On account of the comprehensive preparations and diligent work the OCHD has organized since COVID-19 was identified in late 2019, we and our partner response agencies are well prepared to help prevent the potential spread of novel coronavirus,” adds Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “We ask that everyone continue to follow all the recommended protocols and guidance the health department and our health partners have been providing the community in an effort to minimize any potential spread of infection.”

In the meantime, the OCHD continues to communicate with local schools, businesses, faith-based organizations, health care providers, senior citizen groups and many other agencies to ensure everyone has appropriate guidance documents and readiness plans.

“The OCHD has been communicating with all of these groups by email, meetings and social media to keep everyone in the loop and that they have the necessary resources and guidance. We still want our residents to know that while serious, the health risk still remains low but being prepared is essential,” adds Toms River Mayor and Ocean County Board of Health Member Dr. Maurice (Mo) Hill. “We want people to continue with their daily activities, but to be more vigilant regarding hand and respiratory hygiene, practice proper hygiene, safe distancing and prevent travel to affected areas.”

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure.

“Health professionals advise most people recover from the COVID-19 without needing special treatment. However, we want to remind our significant senior community to be prepared and anyone else who may have underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness,” says Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman for Senior Services and County Operation.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the OCHD recommends preventive actions to help halt the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue then disposing of the tissue;

Avoid close contact with people who are sick;

Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;

Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;

Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe; and

Get a flu shot! The OCHD is offering free flu shots.

A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel to affected areas and any other destination under CDC travel advisory should call ahead to their health care provider.

If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, they should call ahead to a health care professional. The health care professional will work with the OCHD to provide the proper level of care needed to determine if the person should be tested.

For more information on COVID-19, look for the link on the upper right of the OCHD website. Or, call the State of NJ hotline available around the clock for questions at 1-800-222-1222.

OCHD has also set up a hotline number for residents and clinicians questions regarding the coronavirus. The number is 732-341-9700 ext. 7411.

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