Expanded Testing & Contact Tracing Efforts
Over the last few months, our hospital data has informed our public health officials on our state’s progress of flattening the curve. We have made significant strides but the virus is still out there. Increased testing will increase data, allowing our health officials to get a clearer picture of any potential hotspots so that our communities can quickly and proactively mitigate the spread.
Testing has increased significantly across the state of New Jersey since the first COVID-19 positive case on March 4th. At the end of March, testing facilities were reporting 6,000 tests a day. In April, the daily number of tests doubled, and as we near the end of May, New Jersey has surpassed its goal a few days early of conducting at least 20,000 COVID-19 tests.
As testing increases, the need for “contact tracers” has increased as well. Contact tracing is used to identify those who have been exposed to a positive case so immediate public health actions can be taken. The state is assembling a Contact Tracing Taskforce to guide this effort and anticipates 20 to 30 contact tracers needed per 100,000 people.
To assist our contact tracers, Executive Order No. 141 mandates that all local, county, and regional health departments use the CommCare platform to support contact tracing efforts. CommCare will ensure that all data is centralized and uniformly reported. This will increase collaboration among the municipalities for a more regional, county-based approach. This approach will ensure that a more efficient and accurate data stream exists and will allow state officials to continue rolling back restrictions and restarting our economy.
We all have a role to play in this effort - get tested, keep up with your social distancing, wear a face covering when you're out in public, and wash your hands.
Have a great weekend, and stay safe.
Mayor, Mendham Township