March 19, 2020
Mayor’s Administration, Office of Emergency Management and Mount Olive Health Department
(Joint Press Release)
The public health and safety of our community is a top priority for the Township, Administration Department and the Mount Olive Township Health Department. Our primary goal is to minimize exposure, prevent the spread of infection and institute control measures. During this outbreak and to assist the Mount Olive Township Health Department, the Public Health All Hazards Response Plan was initiated on February 17, 2020 to ensure that our strong partnership with law enforcement and emergency response agencies were readily available to provide a timely and appropriate response. Due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, the Mount Olive Health Department moved to a Level 4 response with the main objective of reducing exposure to COVID-19, preparing for medical countermeasures, and conducting an on-going public information campaign. This plan is consistent with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS). The Mount Olive Township Health Department is working closely with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the CDC to closely monitor the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. These efforts have been supported by regular participation in conference calls and training webinars which establishes local department responsibilities such as interviewing and monitoring the health of suspect and confirmed cases. Specifically, within 24 hours of receiving the information of a “risk exposure”, the NJDOH will contact the Mount Olive Township Health Department to initiate contact with the person, evaluate risk, assess their health status, give instructions for active monitoring and provide 24/7 contacts for the department. Active monitoring will continue until the absence of the virus symptoms are confirmed. During a potential outbreak, the Mount Olive Township Health Department will continue to work with the County Health Department and Office of Emergency Management to conduct risk communication, and participate in any regional point of distribution centers. Mount Olive Township health officials are following all appropriate NJDOH and CDC protocols in conducting efficient and comprehensive follow up. Close contacts of confirmed cases are being identified to determine the need for self-monitoring. Once a close contact has been identified, our Health Department will be in contact with you within 24 hours.
Additionally, the Township has taken aggressive steps to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees and residents visiting Townhall. Hand sanitizers, soap, water and paper towels are abundantly available for handwashing, all surfaces are cleaned thoroughly throughout the week and signs were initially posted discouraging residents with flu-like symptoms from entering the building. The Township, through the Office of Emergency Management, has declared a Local State of Emergency and has issued emergency protective measures to safeguard our community, the full list can be viewed by visiting www.mountolivetwpnj.org. A COVID-19 Pandemic and Continuity of Government Plan has also been developed to assist the Township in preparing, responding to and conducting essential operations during a potential outbreak. Townhall is currently closed to the public, along with our other public facilities and departments are operating on a minimum staff physically in the building with a majority of the employees working remotely. We have started a volunteer program to help those in need and have established a COVID-19 hotline, the number is 862-419-4300.
Through the Mount Olive Office of Emergency Management, a daily conference call has been started with our Emergency Responders, Health Department and school board officials to help us navigate through this pandemic. First responders have been authorized to take appropriate action to assist in containing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19. Additional resources have been made available to assist in this pandemic.
The Mount Olive Health Department has conducted a situational awareness and COVID-19 presentation for the School District’s administration and healthcare professionals, along with advising on food service. Our public health nurses are fielding calls and working daily with the school’s nursing staff.
The Mount Olive Health Department has also communicated with daycare centers, clergy, physicians, local businesses, senior living facilities and our local food pantry on CDC guidelines and recommendations as it pertains to their business. Educational material has been made available on our website and social media pages.
Township public nurses are handling many phone calls from residents; many of these calls are over the concern of contacts of contacts of a positive case. When we receive information on a quarantined patient we communicate with that patient regularly for updates on their symptoms. The contact information for those being monitored is shared with our Police Department so that first responders can respond in the appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE). The Township is continuously monitoring our PPE gear to insure our first responders are protected.
Our Registered Environmental Health Specialists are currently proceeding with their regular duties. In addition, they are visiting every retail food establishment to conduct a spot check to review their handwashing and employee health practices and adherence to the Governors and our Local Emergency Declarations.
As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control recommends the following actions be taken to care for your health and protect others:
- Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms.
- Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. If tissues are not available, cover your nose and mouth with your elbow.
- Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
- Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak. The coronavirus is a fluid situation and we are taking all measures to protect the community.
Residents showing symptoms of COVID-19 must contact their healthcare provider. Symptoms include fever of 100.4F, cough and shortness of breath. For additional information on COVID-19 resources, please visit the sites below.
- Mount Olive Township
- NJ Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- NJ Department of Consumer Affairs (price gouging or scams)