(Gloucester Township, NJ) – Since March 1, Camden County employees have tirelessly worked to harness all the tools at their disposal to support the overall community during this international pandemic. The ongoing response and provisions provided to residents have been larger than any other public health crisis in the county’s 176-year history.
Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. pointed to the efforts of employees while remembering the lives lost and the cost COVID has taken on the community.
“Mustering the testing, partnerships, resources and immediate response we have had during this public health crisis makes me proud to serve our community with my partners.” Cappelli said. “From getting masks into vulnerable neighborhoods, to ensuring testing options existed for residents, I could not be prouder of the work we’ve done to address this pandemic. Nevertheless, we have miles to go on this journey and we cannot truly talk about accomplishments without keeping the 538 residents who have succumbed to this hideous disease in our thoughts and prayers.”
Initiatives at the county-level have led to a series of actions in the interest in public health and welfare, including:
- Both the Camden County Health Department and Camden County Police Department have given out more than 20,000 masks to residents.
- The Board has tested approximately 7,000 residents, first responders and front-line workers in county-run sites prior to the private sector expanding testing.
- The county worked with Cooper University Health Care, Virtua Health and Jefferson Health in New Jersey to construct and operate four separate testing sites.
- The county strategically placed portable washing stations outdoors to provide options for good hand hygiene for those who lack access.
- More than 250,000 home-delivered meals have been distributed since the pandemic began.
- Ten wholesale food distributions have been executed since the start of the pandemic feeding more than 2,750 families throughout the county.
- With a lack of cooling centers, over 300 fans and more than 100 air conditioners have been distributed to seniors and disabled residents.
- More than 2,000 hand sanitizer units have been given out to residents.
- More than 200,000 pieces of personal protective equipment has been issued to local first responders.
- More than 500,000 units of personal protective equipment has been provided to the county’s 56 long-term care facilities and assisted living centers.
- The county Department of Public Safety has purchased and provided UV decontamination devices to strategic locations throughout the county to ensure critical vehicles and facilities are clean.
- $20 million in CARES Act funding is being dedicated and provided to small businesses throughout the county.
- $3.2 million in CARES Act funding has been allocated to municipalities that applied for it.
- Developing and implementing a robust contact tracing operation of more than 60 employees who are working in the county Health Department to identify COVID contacts and limit community spread.
- The county is allocating $28.7 million of CARES Act funding to our three major healthcare providers.
- Continued virtual operation of the county library system for kids, families and seniors.
- Building strong operational partnerships with Cooper University Health Care, Virtua Health and Jefferson Health in New Jersey.
- Providing tools, educational materials and masks to Cathedral Kitchen in Camden City.
These are a sample of the actions that Camden County has executed over the last five months in support of the community. There is an unsung group of front-line and essential workers that have provided the intestinal fortitude to move county operations forward and accomplish many of the goals that were set forth this year. Freeholder Jonathan Young talked about the efforts and sacrifices being made to meet the challenge during COVID-19.
“Our team has continued, week after week, to do everything we can to assist residents, businesses and families during the crisis. Even as the spread of the coronavirus has decreased, the risk of food insecurity expanded as the economic fallout worsens. We know jobless claims continue to mount which is why our employees are stepping up in unprecedented ways,” said Freeholder Jonathan Young. “Our entire community owes a debt of gratitude to the incredible men and women at the Department of Health, Parks, Buildings and Ops, and all the other county employees who have stepped up and eased the incredible burden of the pandemic. The landscape has improved, but we still have a long way to go until we have a vaccine.”
The Division of Senior and Disabled Services is continuing to deliver meals to new program participants. If you or a senior you know needs meal assistance, please call (856) 374-MEAL or (856) 858-3220 to make arrangements.