NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – COVID-19 is a virus that spreads easily among the population; this can make it very difficult to control. As health efforts are employed around the globe in hopes to slow down the spread of the virus, we continue to see numbers rise. To truly stop the spread of the virus efforts must be taken by all members of our community. Here in Sussex County we have implemented multiple efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19, health officials said.
Sussex County Health officials offer these tips on how you can do your part to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community:
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Wear a Mask – Always wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public spaces, and anywhere that you cannot keep six feet of distance from another person. Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Keep six feet between yourself and others whenever possible and avoid crowded areas.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. For more, see the CDC’s guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Get Tested – Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. You could have COVID19 and not even know it. Protect yourself and save the lives of your loved ones by getting tested – especially if you have symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, are an essential worker, were recently in a large crowd where social distancing was hard to maintain, or recently traveled outside the immediate region. Find a testing location near you at covid19.nj.gov/testing.
- Answer The Phone When A Contact Tracer Calls – You have been called because you either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has –so it’s critical you answer the phone. Contact tracers are calling with life-saving information that will keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe and healthy. All information remains confidential. Learn how contact tracing saves lives at covid19.nj.gov/testandtrace.
COVID-19 testing is vital to helping slow the curve of the disease. Home testing through LabCorp is available to residents 18 and over. Recently the county executed a contract with Vault for home testing which will be open to all residents. Zufall Federally Qualified Health Clinic will be opening a weekly testing site in Sparta, Frankford and Newton shortly. Testing is at no cost. Visit the county’s website to access a COVID-19 test.
The county is opening a vaccination clinic in Frankford on Thursday, January 14, 2021. The State of New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is issuing vaccines by phases. The county updates its vaccination frequently asked questions daily. Visit sussex.nj.us/covid19 and click Vaccine Q & A for more information on scheduling a vaccine and the NJDOH vaccination phases.
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, we have increased our contact investigation and tracing efforts throughout the county. The goal of contact tracing is to reach out to any person who a COVID-19 positive individual has identified as a close contact. We provide close contacts with the most up to date quarantine information and urge them to follow public health guidance. It is important to note that when reaching out to the contacts that have been identified by the case, contact tracers follow all HIPPA laws.
The Office of Public Health Nursing has also worked closely with 24-hour care facilities, and schools, community-based agencies, Newton Medical Center and other entities providing guidance on how to best respond to reported COVID-19 infections. The office is also in charge of identifying, monitoring, and ending any possible outbreaks in the county.
Not only is the county working to monitor and slow down the spread of the virus, but they have worked closely with civic leaders in these efforts. Each day, daily COVID-19 case numbers are emailed directly to the mayor of each municipality throughout the county. Not only are they sent numbers daily, but each month our County Administrator holds a meeting with the mayors via a Zoom chat.
The county has been working to open up its very own COVID-19 vaccination site. The vaccine will slowly become available to all residents throughout the coming months.
It is important for all Sussex County residents to continue to follow all current public health guidance. Wear a mask when in public, try to stay six feet apart at all times, avoid crowded areas, and wash your hands often. If you are feeling sick stay home, isolate yourself, and get tested. We must all work together to stop the spread of this virus. Sussex County would like to thank all residents for their hard work and commitment to slowing the spread of the virus in the past year. We ask that you maintain these efforts as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Information about the vaccine may change as updates are received. Keep an eye out for any updates by checking the Sussex County website, follow the County’s Facebook page or Twitter page for posted updates.
For more information, residents may also call the Sussex County COVID-19 Hotline at 973-579-9488 to speak with a Division of Health staff member or Sussex County Medical Reserve Corps volunteer. The Hotline’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.