New cases of coronavirus in Sussex County are on a dramatically upward trajectory, according to numbers issued by the county health department in the past week.
The department reported 136 new cases on Monday alone, which far exceeds the number of new cases for any single day of the pandemic so far this year.
This development comes a week before Thanksgiving, as families plan get-togethers. Gov. Phil Murphy retightened restrictions this week, ordering that indoor gatherings be limited to a maximum of 10 people, and outdoor gatherings be limited to a maximum of 150 people, effective Tuesday, Nov. 17. The governor earlier put new restrictions on restaurants, bars, and indoor sports.
Health officials say that combining groups that may not have seen each other in a while is extremely risky and recommend spending the holidays with those already living in their household.
The following indoor gatherings may continue under the current rules, limited to 25 percent of a room’s capacity, up to 150 people: religious services/celebrations and political events, weddings and funerals, memorial services, and performances.
Sussex County Freeholder Anthony Fasano announced at the Nov. 12 freeholders meeting that in-home COVID tests are can be obtained by county residents at no charge, with results within 48 hours. Details may be found on the county’s website, sussex.nj.us.
The county health department refers residents to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which says, “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.” Please see the CDC’s tips accompanying this article.
“Infection is transmitted by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe,” says a statement from the county health department. “CDC recommends community use of multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets (source control), which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions.1,2 Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer (filtration for personal protection). The community benefit of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is due to the combination of these effects; individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly.”