With more and easier-to-access resources, we’re all better prepared if the second wave strikes.
Call it what you will—a continuation of the first wave or the start of the second—but the fact is the number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey continues to increase. According to the state Department of Health’s Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System, as of last week Bergen County had nearly 22,000 presumptive positive cases, which equates to 1.9 new cases per 10,000 residents over the previous week.
That rate of increase, of course, pales in comparison to what we experienced in spring, so no one is sounding the alarm just yet—but you should proceed with caution. That means continue to wear those masks in public settings, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and social distance yourself from others when possible. Most of us probably let our guard down at least once this summer, but let’s keep it to the minimum in the upcoming seasons. Also remember when questions arise, there are more easy-to-access resources available now than there were when this all started. Here are a few you should know:
Does the county still provide free testing? Bergen New Bridge Medical Center—which has partnered with the county to open COVID screening sites—no longer hosts mobile testing in individual towns, which it did in early summer. New Bridge has, however, expanded its telehealth service to pre-screen patients for the coronavirus. A telehealth provider (or your physician) will order your coronavirus test if you are symptomatic.
What should I do if I exhibit symptoms of coronavirus? If you suspect you might have been infected with the coronavirus, perform a self-evaluation using the state’s symptom checker. Depending on your answers to the assessment, your next steps may range from quarantining and monitoring your symptoms to contacting your physician or healthcare provider.
Can I get a test elsewhere? Contact your physician for an appointment (don’t walk into their office or a hospital ER unless it is an emergency, especially if you have symptoms). Several retail pharmacies such as CVS and Rite Aid are taking appointments for no-cost COVID-19 screening and testing.
I don’t recall some of the state’s COVID regulations. Where can I find answers? Bergen County keeps a detailed list of state and local executive orders and bills on its website, so you can get a quick refresher on everything from restaurants and gyms to outdoor face coverings to elective surgeries and more.
What other help does New Bridge’s telehealth services offer? The pandemic has also taken a mental toll on patients and their families. Those who are struggling with the emotional side of the disease or are helping others cope with it can connect with mental health professionals by calling 800.730.2767.