(Gloucester Township, NJ) – While Coronavirus (COVID-19) is in the headlines and a prime topic with medical professionals, the County Department of Health and Human Services says it currently poses little risk to residents in the United States. While the outbreak continues throughout the 22 impacted countries, the county health department is maintaining constant contact with health care providers in the region and state and federal agencies. The department is maintaining contact with local universities and other institutions to monitor and report any new developments.
To date, there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, and there have been only a handful of cases across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains that the threat of human-to-human transmission of the virus in the United States is low.
“For the vast majority of Americans, unless you have recently traveled to Hebei Province where the outbreak is believed to have started, you are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus,” said Camden County Health Officer Paschal Nwako. “Still, the dedicated professionals at the Health Department are receiving constant updates from the CDC and state Department of Health in order to monitor any changes in this assessment and to keep the public informed.”
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus which is believed to have first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. A novel coronavirus is a coronavirus which has not been previously identified. These are different from other coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans like the common cold.
Although it is considered a serious public health concern by the CDC, the agency maintains that based on the current information available, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general public in the United States is considered low.
The New Jersey Department of Health is working with state and federal partner agencies to track and monitor any suspected cases of the virus and those who had been in contract with any ill persons. The Camden County Department of Health also has the ability to order quarantine for anyone suspected of having contracted the virus.
Anyone with questions about the novel coronavirus, symptoms, or their risk of exposure, can call the free, 24-hour public hotline at (800) 222-1222 where trained professionals are standing by to answer questions about COVID-19.
“It is still important to practice good hygiene, washing your hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes with sleeves or tissues instead of your hands, avoiding sick people when possible,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez. “We want to use this opportunity to stress to the public that while the coronavirus poses little threat at this time, the threat from the seasonal flu remains quite high throughout New Jersey.”
Rodriguez and health officials are stressing the deadly potential of the seasonal flu which currently poses a much greater risk to our community than COVID-19. There have not been any coronavirus-related deaths in the United States, meanwhile the CDC estimates that since October 2019, the seasonal flu has caused more than 10,000 deaths in the United States.
In New Jersey, flu activity remains high in all counties, and officials are reporting an increase in Type B influenza strains, which, like Type A, can cause serious respiratory illnesses and fast-spreading epidemics. The flu vaccine is generally more effective against Type B viruses.
Camden County residents can still receive the influenza vaccination at Camden County’s Regional Health Centers in Bellmawr and Camden City.
To schedule an appointment or to inquire regarding walk-in hours, please contact the appropriate center:
Bellmawr Regional Health Center
35 E. Browning Road
Bellmawr, NJ 08031
Board of Social Services Building
600 Market Street, Basement B-55
Camden, NJ 08102
“While not 100 percent effective, the flu vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick,” Rodriguez said. “While we keep those affected by the coronavirus in our thoughts and prayers, we hope that our residents will take the initiative and use their elevated concern surrounding the virus and focus on the much more immediate risk which is the seasonal flu.”
For additional information about where and how to receive the flu vaccine residents can contact the county Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 999-9045, or visit www.camdencounty.com, or contact their primary physician.