Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Precautions
|Date:||March 13, 2020|
The following are guidelines from the Cape May County Department of Health to protect the health of our community and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Updated Guidance for the General Public
- Even if you are not ill, do not visit hospitals, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes, or other settings with vulnerable populations. If you do need to visit one of these facilities, limit your time there and keep 6 feet away from all patients and employees of the facility at all times.
- Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms such as cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first for instructions.
- If you are sick, stay home and away from others in your household to the degree you are able.
- Practice excellent personal hygiene habits including washing your hands with soap and water frequently, coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are at higher risk for serious illness.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you’ve just washed your hands.
- Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
Updated Guidance for Workplaces and Businesses
Employers are responsible for taking steps to make it more feasible for their employees to work in ways that minimize close contact with large numbers of people. This guidance is designed to both protect employees and all members of the public with whom they come into contact at work.
Employers should immediately:
Ensure employees who are sick do not come to work.
Suspend nonessential employee travel.
Minimize the number of employees working within arm’s length of one another.
Cancel all large in-person meetings and conferences, or hold them via telephone or video conference.
Maximize flexibility in granting sick leave so that sick employees are able to stay home.
For service/retail industries, ensure updated procedures and protocols for frequent hand washing/sanitizing; enhance cleaning of high-touch surfaces and items with disinfecting wipes and other standard cleaners; ensure adequate supply of soap and paper towels; ensure frequent emptying of waste bins; and post signage regarding these procedures for staff and patrons.
Stop requiring a doctor’s note for sick employees, as healthcare offices may be very busy and unable to provide that documentation right away.
Consider use of telecommuting options for appropriate employees.
Consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time.
N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy on March 16 ordered that all restaurant serve only takeout or delivered food until further notice. All non-essential businesses must close by 8 p.m. and limit capacity to 50 people. Supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and other "essential" businesses may remain open at normal hours. All movie theaters, casinos, performing arts centers and gyms must close until further notice.
Updated Guidance for People at Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness
The Cape May County Health Department strongly urges that persons at higher risk of severe illness to:
Stay home as much as possible.
Avoid traveling on cruises and airplanes.
Follow all guidance for the general population including by staying away from gatherings of people.
Those at higher risk include:
People, regardless of age, with underlying health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems.
Older adults. The risk begins to increase over 50 and increases significantly with age, with persons over age 70 and 80 in the highest risk categories.
Updated Guidance for Childcare and Schools
All schools in New Jersey have been ordered to close until further notice.
Updated Guidance for People Who are Sick
Stay home when you are sick. Do not go out in public when you are sick and, especially, do not visit long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or hospitals (unless you are seeking care yourself). Avoid medical settings in general unless necessary. If you are ill with fever, cough, or trouble breathing, call your doctor's office first before going and let them know your symptoms.
Updated Guidance for Persons Hosting Gatherings and Community Events of Less than 50 People
At this time, we strongly urge postponing or canceling gatherings and community events where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.
If you can’t avoid bringing groups of people together, it is your responsibility to:
- Stop anyone who is sick with fever or respiratory symptoms from attending.
- Encourage those who are at higher risk for serious illness to not attend.
- Find ways to give people more physical space so that they aren’t in close contact as much as possible.
- Ensure that there are adequate supplies of hand hygiene materials and urge attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer of 60% alcohol or better can be used.
Direct attendees to:
- Avoid close contact with other people.
- Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue - if available - or into their elbow.
- Clean surfaces with disinfecting wipes and other standard cleaners before, during, and after the event.