Good Work Monty, But Keep Vigilant
Report from Jeremy S. Grayson, MD — the Montgomery Board of Health president
Hello again fellow Montgomery residents.
We are fortunate to live in the only state where the number of new COVID-positive patients has declined in each of the past two weeks. The plan our state government, in conjunction with our NJ Department of Health has thus far been successful.
That does not imply we are ready to open everything up again. The staged approach and the results are a clear indication that we should stay the course.
Unfortunately, citizens continue to ignore the executive orders and local ordinances, leading to persistent micro-outbreaks statewide, and a continued local trickle of cases in Montgomery.
In late July, more than 30 high school-aged students in Middletown tested positive after a house party. Contact tracing has been a challenge because not all in attendance are willing to comply. This obviously sets a dangerous precedent and is a public safety hazard.
In addition, 24 lifeguards in Harvey Cedars and Surf City recently tested positive for COVID — again, with contact tracers having difficulty performing their duties.
Earlier in the summer, more than 50 cases rapidly developed in Hammonton (known as the “Blueberry Capital of the World” and the birthplace of Jill Biden).
Finally, there was a political rally in town on July 19, and despite warnings and reminders of the rules concerning social distancing and the importance of wearing masks, observers in attendance reported neither being taken seriously.
While three of these examples are not near Montgomery, it is important to note that Montgomery people do visit the beaches (especially Long Beach Island). We are all interconnected in this densely populated state. We all need to maintain vigilance.
As I have pointed out in prior correspondence, because our residents travel throughout the state during the summer, and it just takes one encounter with a careless lifeguard or blueberry picker at a farm stand, to bring more virus to our community.
As we enter August, the school year looms large for most residents.
There continues to be a great deal of uncertainty as to the plan for in-person versus remote education, as well as the path toward full classroom-based instruction. In order for this to occur, it is not just the children who need to be protected; it is our teachers, support staff, secretarial staff, bus drivers, food service personnel, custodial staff, the parents at home, and the close contacts of each of these people.
Everyone’s shared common goal is for our children to be in school. However, for that to come to fruition, masking, social distancing, proper hygienic practices, testing, contact tracing, and minimal community spread must be exist.
Our local department of health, board of education, and township committee are working tirelessly to establish best practices for our community.
In order to be successful, it will take our entire community to maintain its safety. Please, continue to practice all the habits to which you have become accustomed. Have frank conversations with your children about the importance of these practices; there are far too many kids who are ignoring the rules when they are no longer within visibility’s range.
Explain that it is not what we do when watched or supervised that proves our character, but when no one is watching.
It can just take one asymptomatic shedder of the virus to negatively affect the lives of all. Be examples to each other; by doing so, you show you care about the health, well-being, education, and prosperity of our community.
There has been much in the press and on social media. These reports contain truths, but also abject falsehoods. I implore all in town to read the primary sources from which these distilled opinions are based.
Here are a few good resources: