Nutley Health Department - Novel Corona Virus Updates

3/23/2020

Residents are asked to please remember that just because a COVID-19 positive person was observed out and about does not mean that the person had symptoms or that they were aware they were positive at the time they were out. If you were in close contact with a person who has tested positive, you will be notified by the Health Department. Close contact is described as “being with the person for at least 10 minutes at a distance of 6 ft or less.”

Close contacts are instructed to self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days since they had contact with that COVID-19 positive person. This is because the COVID-19 incubation period is believed to be 14 days. We thank you for your concern, but it is not necessary to contact the NHD about these observations.

The seriousness of COVID-19 has understandably caused concern among our community. Many calls have come into our Health Department from residents asking who has contracted the virus for fear that they may have been in contact with them. Bound by very restrictive patient protection laws (HIPPA), the identity of these patients cannot be shared with the public.

Please know that the most important part of this process is not identifying those affected, but keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe by following social distancing best practices. Please be respectful of people’s privacy and do not share news of someone you have heard may be affected if you do not know it to be true. This exacerbates fear and creates an uneasiness. These are uncharted waters for all of us and we need to stand beside each other and do everything we can to protect our families and friends.

3/14/2020

As most of you are aware, out of an abundance of caution, closures and cancellations for senior related programs have been occurring to limit social gatherings for older people due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While we realize that changing normal routines, cancelling events and not seeing friends can be disruptive and upsetting, we are taking CDC recommendations very seriously and urge you to do the same.

The CDC has identified older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease are at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. According to the CDC, early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.

That’s why the CDC recommends that people at higher risk follow the measures cited below:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Stock up on supplies, food and prescriptions.
  • Take advantage of many delivery options in our community:

Shoprite from Home https://shop.shoprite.com/store/c088347
Fresh Direct https://www.freshdirect.com/help/delivery_info.jsp
(Perhaps you can contact your local supermarkets and pharmacies to see if they have delivery options)

Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.

  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

We are committed to staying connected to our older residents during this health emergency and have taken the steps to make regular calls to our most vulnerable seniors at home. We will also stay in contact with regular updates via phone or email.

If you are interested in participating in the Operation Reassurance Program, a senior citizen call program, please contact Cheryl DiAntonio at 973-284-4936

3/13/2020

In our ongoing effort to dispel misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding COVID-19/CoronaVirus facts, we will continue to provide routine website updates  in order to keep our community well informed.

Individuals with no symptoms are NOT recommended to be tested. Individuals with mild symptoms should stay home if they are sick and follow the guidance of their health care provider.

If the public has questions, they should contact the call center: 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-962-1253 if in NJ but using a non-NJ cell phone. Call center is open 24/7 and has multi-language capacity. The call center is not able to diagnose individuals, provide testing appointments or results, or give specific medical recommendations. Callers who need medical advice should contact their healthcare provider.

Safety Issue – there have been social media posts regarding individuals going door to door claiming to be from the CDC. The CDC is not deploying teams of people to go door to door to conduct surveillance. People should be warned to not let them in their homes or to speak with them. They are imposters. Contact local law enforcement if this activity is reported in your municipality.

Questions and Answers:

How long does the COVID-19 virus survive on surfaces?

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. Studies suggest that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g., type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.

What is the difference between seasonal coronavirus and COVID-19?
 

Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with a coronavirus at some point in their lives.

Human coronaviruses are not the same at COVID-19.  COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. This new virus is spread easily and there is community spread. This means that people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?

To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can be infected with or spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

am not sick/have no symptoms but want to be tested for COVID-19.

At this time NJDOH is NOT recommending individualswith no symptoms be tested for COVID-19. If they develop symptoms, consistent with COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath that requires hospitalization), they should contact their health care provider.

I am planning a conference/mass gathering. Should I cancel the event because of COVID-19?

On March 12, 2020 Governor Murphy recommended that all public gathering of more than 250 persons be canceled. This follows the strategies of social distancing which is public health practice that is meant to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. 

If schools are closed, can my child still go on “play dates”?

During the COVID-19 outbreak, schools are closed to limit the spread of the virus. The practice of social distancing is public health measure taken to help slow down the spread of a contagious disease by restricting when and where people can gather. These measures can include limiting groups of people coming together.

What is social distancing and how does it affect large events?

Social distancing is a public health measure taken to help slow down the spread of a contagious disease by restricting when and where people can gather. These measures can include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and canceling events. For example, a college suspending classes and going to web-based learning would be a social distancing measure. People should begin to think about the various ways their lives could be disrupted by such measures and begin to make plans such as finding out about work-from-home policies if schools or childcare centers are closed.

What is self-isolation?

This is a public health strategy where individuals who are sick and exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case are separated from well persons. They should not go to work/school or other public places and make efforts to avoid persons who are well. For possible COVID-19 exposures, self-monitoring is 14 days. People who are asked to self-isolate should stay in a separate bedroom and, if possible, use a separate bathroom and have minimal contact with other persons and pets in the home.

Is homemade hand sanitizer effective?

The CDC does not advise making hand sanitizer at home. The CDC recommends using commercially available hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol. Good old fashion soap and water is always the best practice.  Hand sanitizer should be used only in the absence of soap and water.

I am feeling stressed about the novel coronavirus and would like to talk with a mental health professional. Who can I call?

The NJ Department of Human Services operates a toll free “warm line” which is a resource for people seeking mental health service. The warm line is activated during events that impact the mental health of New Jersey residents. The warm line is available 24 hours and has language access; (877) 294-HELP (4357). NOTE: The “warm line” does not replace 911 and is not used to report emergencies.

The Nutley Health Department remains available to clinicians and residents who have questions or concerns.

03.13.2020

Commissioner Rogers and the Nutley Health Department urge residents with general questions about COVID-19 to visit www.nutleynj.org/health or call the Nutley Health Department at 973-284-4976.

03.06.2020

03.02.2020

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the New Jersey Department of Health, the course of COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily.  Although there are currently no COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, being prepared is always the right decision in such cases.
 
The following is a list of some things that could be done to prepare:

  • Stocking up on a two-week supply of food and water  
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home  
  • Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand including pain relievers/fever reducing medications, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins, tissues.
  • Stock up on household supplies such as toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals pharmacies and other sources and store them for personal reference.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what would be needed for them in your home.
  • Have pet foods and supplies.
  • Stock up on baby care items
  • Plan for potential extended school and day care closures  
  • Talk to your employer about telecommuting opportunities in the event that movement of people is restricted  
  • Plan for a “sick room” in the home. Designate one room that would work best, usually a bedroom with its own bathroom (when possible) that no one else will use. If someone in the home becomes ill, keep them in the “sick room away” from others.

The latest information from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) can be found at:

Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath.  It is currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Because these symptoms are common to almost every respiratory virus it is important to report to your healthcare provider if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Call ahead to reports symptoms, contact and travel history before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.

The Nutley Health Department also remains available to clinicians and residents who have questions or concerns.

02.27.2020

The Novel Corona Virus now referred to as COVID-19 is and has been on the radar of the WHO, CDC, NJDOH and each and every local health department for some time now. As we annually track the spread of the influenza virus, and multiple communicable diseases throughout our communities we have also been tracking the spread of COVID-19.  Currently there remains no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NJ.  
 
Although we very much appreciate the efforts and value of the media, our guidance is not taken from local media or social media platforms but rather from the most current infectious disease data that leads to a proven public health response.  “For the general public, CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks or respirators. CDC guidance is based on what we know about SARS-CoV-2 (which causes the COVID-19 illness) and what we know about similar coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS.”
 
“Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes or nose, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue. People who are sick should stay home and not go into crowded public places or visit people in hospitals. Workers who are sick should follow CDC guidelines and stay home when they are sick.”
 
NJDOH guidance on when a mask is needed can be found at the following site:  https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/ask_for_mask_english.pdf

2/25/2020

In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, the Nutley Health Department continues daily monitoring of communicable diseases within our community, county and state.  In addition, we work with CDC to monitor communicable diseases within the country and globally.   Annual, during the U.S. influenza season our monitoring of respiratory viruses/illnesses is enhanced significantly. 

According to CDC, “While flu vaccines vary in how well they work, flu vaccination is the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.”  Each respiratory illness possesses its own unique characteristics however, based on a multitude of research and knowledge regarding the vast amount of respiratory illnesses currently circulating, what we’ve learned in kindergarten still holds true:

  • Properly cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash your hands
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Stay at home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with persons who are sick

These simple non-pharmaceutical measures have a long history of limiting the spread of respiratory illnesses.  Let’s agree to revisit these basic personal protective habits that will not only help us but our family, neighbors, coworkers and friends.    Be a community champion and do what your Kindergarten teacher (and mother) told you to do!

Please find attached and below further specifics regarding how to help stop the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses.

2/18/2020

The Nutley Health Department continues to work closely with the NJ Department of Health and CDC regarding the 2019 Novel Corona Virus, Influenza and other respiratory viruses.

  •  Although the “family of Corona Viruses” remains to circulate worldwide; please note that as of last CDC report (02/13/2019) there remains no confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Corona Virus in NJ.
  • Also note that the CDC has finally “officially” named the virus COVID-19 which will be replacing 2019 nCoV name in all future documents.
  • The NJDOH Novel Coronavirus Call Center is open and is taking calls from the general public only at 1-800-222-1222.
    • It is open 24/7 and can accommodate callers in multiple languages.
    • This call center is not for clinicians as clinicians should call their local health department for guidance.
  • The Nutley Health Department also remains available to clinicians and residents who have questions or concerns.

Please refer to the attached documents to help prevent this and respiratory viruses.

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